Saturday, October 19, 2013

What a Show...What a Showman!

What a Show…What a Showman!

What can I say?  Brian Stokes Mitchell epitomizes all that is wonderful about Broadway music.  The ultimate showman, Mitchell electrified the stage at Heinz Hall, charmingly engaging with the audience in a round robin competition in the second act.

The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of guest conductor Ted Sperling, warmed up the audience with music from Carousel and Sweeney Todd.  An added treat, students from area colleges and universities, participants in the All-Star College Chorus, gave us two selections with the promise of more to come. The All-Star College Chorus is led by Robert Page and Christine Hestwood and includes students from California University of Pennsylvania, Community College of Allegheny County, Chatham University, Point Park University, Slippery Rock University, University of Pittsburgh, Washington & Jefferson College and Waynesburg University.

With music from Camelot, Porgy and Bess, Les Miserables, Ragtime among others, we were transported to the Great White Way, with familiar classics and a few new ones.  Mitchell and Sperling weaved in stories of their extensive relationship creating beautiful music together.  Add in pianist and friend Tedd Firth, and you get the benefit of three professionals who are so in tuned with each other that it almost felt like a performance around a living room piano rather than a concert hall.

I walked away from the performance with 3 favorites, 2 new ones and an old standard.  The “Waters in March” was a nice treat and made me smile with its uplifting message and Brazilian beat.  “New Word” is a touching and loving tribute to discovery of language between parent and child.  The glorious rendition of my personal anthem, the affirming “Impossible Dream”, thematic of continuing to strive no matter the obstacle, brought tears to my eyes.  The splendor of Heinz Hall, the soaring voices, and beautiful music of the orchestra all blended into a sumptuous experience.

The PNC Pops series with Brian Stokes Mitchell is at Heinz Hall through October 20, 2013.

Reviewed on behalf of Roving Pittsburgher by Joyce Kane.  Joyce Kane is the owner of Cybertary Pittsburgh, a Virtual Administrative support company, providing virtual office support, personal and executive assistance, creative design services and light bookkeeping.  Cybertary works with businesses and busy individuals to help them work 'on' their business rather than 'in' their business.

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