Sunday, February 1, 2009

Broadway Today at the Kennedy Center

Yesterday there was a special free concert at the Kennedy Center. [Side note: because I am retarded, I have a malingering tendency to refer to the Kennedy Center as the Lincoln Center. I can't keep my Presidential centers straight, it is quite annoying, so forgive me if I mess it up unintentionally.] The Kennedy Center has a free concert every day of the year, but this was some big special anniversary of free concerts or something, so they got a bunch of awesome Broadway singers to come in and a bunch of awesome Broadway composers to play for them. Or so I thought. Anyway, David and I got there early to stand in line for the tickets. and much to our surprise were only about 100 people back or so. I think the cold weather worked in our favor, and most people came much later than usual, so we ended up with Orchestra front and center which was awesome. Our friend Christina called after we were there and came over too, but by the time she got there she was probably close to 1000 people behind us. However through some twist of fate she ended up with a seat not too far away from us, so that was nice.

The concert started with Stephen Schwartz (who wrote Pippin and Wicked), and as he sits at the piano the moderator starts asking him lots of questions, how he got started in the business, who were his role models, how does he go about writing a song. Then he sang "The Wizard and I", but prefaced it with two early versions of the song, and told us why they didn't work and why they made the changes they did. And suddenly I realized I was in for much more of a treat than I'd expected. This wasn't just a quickie concert of some greatest Broadway hits. They had four composer teams (Schwartz, Jeanine Tesori, Flaherty/Ahrens, and Frankel/Korie) who all gave anecdotes and talked about their work while an amazing lineup of singers gave us examples. So we got Brian Stokes Mitchell singing "Wheels Of A Dream", Adriane Lenox singing "Lot's Wife", and Carpathia Jenkins singing "Spark Of Creation". As a bonus Jeanine Tesori sang one of her songs from the recently opened "Shrek: The Musical", and in addition to having a few cast members singing a song from Frankel/Korie's about-to-open "Happiness" (at, of course, the LINCOLN Center), Scott Frankel also sang a song from a show they are writing based on the Johnny Depp movie "Finding Neverland". In short, it was totally freaking awesome. The highlight, for me, was seeing the incomparable and still in perfect voice Liz Callaway sing "Meadowlark" live with Stephen Schwartz at the piano. And this was free people! I love living in a big city.

Since this was a special concert, it was held in the big theatre. As we sat down and looked around, I recognized it from watching the Kennedy Center Honors, which for some reason was kind of exciting. The stage itself is ginormous. Maybe this year we will try and see an actual production there.

1 comment:

  1. Ahhhhh....wish I could have enjoyed that with you. Even if I would have gotten the way-back-against-the-wall-on-the-side top balcony seat. Missing you a lot.