Concert recap: Idina Menzel with Marvin Hamlish and New York Philharmonic at Avery Fisher Hall
It was an evening that would make any performer green. Tony winner Idina Menzel, famed for her emerald-skinned turn as Elphaba in Wicked, made her New York Philharmonic debut Saturday night at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall. Yet in an environment of elegance and sophistication, Menzel was geeking out over her conductor. Well, in her defense, the conductor was Marvin Hamlisch.
The EGOT winner (30 Rock-speak for someone who has won all four Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony awards) and composer of A Chorus Line and many Barbra Streisand standards was on the receiving end of many gushings from Menzel throughout the concert. At one point, she asked for permission to climb up onto his conductor’s podium so that she may kiss him. Hamlisch obliged, and the embrace evoked a collective “Aww” from the sold-out house.
In addition to her songs, which included musical theater classics and selections from Rent and Wicked, Menzel was in great comedic spirit. Taking long breaks between songs, she told stories of her youth (her family’s most requested song of hers was “The Way We Were”), her life with husband Taye Diggs and 17-month-old son Walker (she and Diggs compose original lullabies and argue over who gets to vocally shine), and of her career (singing for Streisand at the Kennedy Center and being upstaged by Beyonce).
Menzel’s comedy was well received by the Lincoln Center audience, which can typically be an upturned-nose crowd. She embodied a jovial attitude that mixed well with her elegance. Menzel took the stage (barefoot) in an elegant and simple white dress with a thin black belt. Her radiance was a reflection of the night—a special achievement in her career. Read more
Stage Rush TV: Episode 24
Happy birthday to me! Joining me for this special edition of Stage Rush TV are my dear friends Georgina and Kym, along with some other very esteemed guests who open the episode.
- At the Powerhouse Theater at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, NY to see Michael Mayer’s On A Clear Day You Can See Forever, featuring Brian d’Arcy James and Anika Noni Rose
- When friends and theater combine to make a cherished tradition
- Congratulations to the winners of the Night Music/Promises, Promises ticket giveaway
- Broadway grosses
Do you have any theater traditions with your friends, Rushers? Let me know what it is, and what your special memories are. Have you ever been to Vassar’s Powerhouse Theater? Will you be seeing this concert production of On A Clear Day this weekend, or are you waiting for when it comes to the Vineyard Theatre in January 2011 (or both)? As always, leave your thoughts, ideas, (and birthday wishes) in the comments!
Stage Rush TV: Episode 19
- Jonathan Groff at Joe’s Pub
- Talking with Afton C. Williamson, former understudy, current star of Race
- Stage Rush’s free ticket giveaway: Fela! and The 39 Steps
- Broadway grosses
Did you catch Jonathan Groff at Joe’s Pub, Rushers? What did you think of his set list? Have you seen Afton Williamson in Race yet? What do you think of her story? Have you entered the Fela!/39 Steps ticket giveaway yet? What are you waiting for, Rushers? Leave it in the comments!
Concert recap: Jonathan Groff at Joe’s Pub
It was obvious that Jonathan Groff was utilizing his newfound Jesse St. James moves at his solo concert Sunday night at Joe’s Pub. Coming off his hugely popular Glee guest role as the star singer of the fledgling club’s main competition, the Spring Awakening and Hair star channeled the cocky Jesse’s moves into his performance. With a set list of funk and R&B tunes, Groff got down in a playful, silly manor that he has seldom been able to display on stage.
The set list, Groff explained, was inspired by his time at Glee. While sitting in LA traffic on his way to and from the set, which he explained as a “blessing and a curse,” Groff said he immersed himself in music and the songs he chose to perform at the concert were those he sang at the top of his lungs in his car.
Opening with Stevie Wonder’s “You Haven’t Done Nothin’,” the song choice came as a surprise from the usual mellow rock Groff has sung in shows. The performances came across authentic, as Groff infuses a hefty amount of genuine emotion into his delivery. Over the course of the set, which lasted just shy of an hour, Groff sang with a huge grin and constantly reminded the audience how happy he was to be there.
This performance at Joe’s Pub marked Groff’s first ever solo concert. He told the audience that the day he moved to New York, he attended a concert at Joe’s Pub featuring Legally Blonde star Laura Bell Bundy, and that while sitting in the audience, he vowed the day would come that he would headline the stage as well. Read more
Glee Live plays Radio City Music Hall
The national spotlight that such Broadway veterans as Lea Michele, Matthew Morrison, and Jonathan Groff are receiving due to the hit show Glee makes the news and events of the Fox show a direct interest of Stage Rush and its readers. Rusher and Glee fan Irina Gonzalez attended the Saturday Glee Live concert at New York’s Radio City Music Hall and reported from the fan-crazed scene.
There wasn’t a single warm seat in the house Saturday night—that’s what happens when an entire show becomes a standing ovation. The kids of Glee delivered fun and entertainment in their Glee Live tour, which hit New York this weekend.
Starting off the show was the Legion of Extraordinary Dancers, the dance troupe of cast member Harry Shum Jr. There was a lot of jumping and break dancing for the mostly-male cast, and a huge round of applause as Shum, aka Mike “Other Asian” Chang, came on stage at the end for a “idle shoes” inspired dance sequence which sent the audience to its feet for the first time that night. The LXD ended the show sans Shum to a standing ovation.
After a 30-minute intermission, Jane Lynch came on a screen to welcome the Gleeks to Radio City Music Hall as her alter ego Sue Sylvester. “Hello, suckers!” was her opening line, greeting everyone as “idiots” and having McKinley High cheerleaders pass out “barf bags” through the audience. Matthew Morrison then stepped in to introduce the kids of New Directions as they opened the show with their biggest hit, Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’”. Read more