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September 19, 2011

ShowBizQ:
“Hallelujah Broadway” Fly With One Wing

BY
MICHAEL J. ROBERTS

“Hallelujah Broadway” Fly With One Wing
There is no question as to the talent that filled the Auditorium this Saturday. It's rare to hear three such renowned and unique voices all on one stage together. Ms. Burke, Mr. Kearns, and Mr. Dixon are easily some of the most technically impressive performers I have yet to see.

The evening titled, "Hallelujah Broadway" so named after the one original song amongst some of the most iconic songs in the entire cannon of musical theater. Gavin Murphy takes the helm as musical director as well as the orchestrator and arranger and co-composer of "Hallelujah Broadway" along with Bill Hughes.

"Hallelujah Broadway" perhaps mainly due to concept alone could have easily transformed into one exhausting finally. the performance began with the vocal trio singing S. Schwartz and J.M. Tebelak's "Prepare Thee the Way of the Lord." An appropriate song sung divinely [a]by the three. By the third reprise I had most definitely gotten the point. The song was followed by Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Oh What a Beautiful Morning," sung by Ms. Burke. Her first solo number turned out to be her most endearing song of the evening, creating that indescribable surge of energy from the audience, even though her other songs "Climb Every Mountain" and "You'll Never Walk Alone" might require vocally more from her.

Mr. Kearn's vocal abilities leave you in awe, despite the fact that show tunes appeared slightly out of his element. The highlight of his performance was to no surprise his rendition of "How are Things in Glocca Morra" from E.Y. Harburg and B. Lane's "Finigan's Rainbow." His past experiences as a founding member of the group The Irish Tenors shone through. His "Bring Him Home" from H. Kretzmer, C.M. Schonberg, and A. Boublil's "Les Miserables" was lovely. Mr. Kearn's skill is no question, his only issue is perhaps comes from the fact that it was too effortless, making his performance routine.

Saving the best for last, the true highlight of the evening was the astounding performance by Mr. Dixon. When Mr. Dixon began the somber entrance into S. Sondheim and L. Bernstein's "Somewhere" the focus of the room completely zoomed in on the beloved melody. There was no hum of muttering, or unwrapping of candies. It was truly the first spiritual experience of the night. The second came when Mr. Dixon began those first humble notes of S. Sondheim's "Being Alive."

The christian undertones were more obvious in the evening then expected, and some of the most uninspiring factors of the evening. There was a medley of "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" a musical I find eye gouging sung by any caliber. A hap-hazardly pieced together fragments of the shows highlights doesn't require a three pronged fork. You're eyes become less resourceful after being put into a state a vegetation.

The "Godspell" medley which is also the closer to the first act has it's ups and downs. Compared to the eruption I witnessed from an audience with Mr. Dixon's rendition of "Somewhere."

The second act, had a similar energy to the first. The opening, J. Larson's "Seasons of Love" was appropriate, but maybe a bit out of the performers element and closed with T. Rice and A. Loyd Webber's "Jesus Christ Superstar" which the performers were able to utilize and please the audience enough, despite the few flubbed lyrics. However it hardly got the reaction i witnessed by the trio's enchanting rendition of S. Sondheim's "Sunday," which frankly should have the closer.

When piecing an evening like this, with nearly a century of fine material to choose from, one has to find a balance. A balance between safe and adventurous, the classic and the obscure, the subtle and the loud. For the most part the evening was assembled well, but left you desiring more.

Performance attended and reviewed by Michael Monteiro. The performance was held on Sat., Sept. 17 at the Auditorium Theatre at Roosevelt University.

 
photo
Chicago Commercial Collective Chicago Commercial Collective Greenhouse Theater
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