Catch Broadway’s bestAround the City Thursday, August 4th, 2011
There are only two nights to catch three of Broadway’s biggest headliner’s in a show that salutes the Tony winners of the Great White Way, along with many other show stopping hits as well.
The Bridgepoint Education Summer Pops Concert on Aug. 5 and 6 will be conducted by renowned guest conductor Randall Craig Fleisher and will feature Tony winner Debbie Gravitte, Tony nominee Christiane Noll and Broadway favorite Doug LaBrecque, along with a special appearance by The San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus.
Ms. Gravitte is no stranger to this series as she has performed five times prior, or is it six? Whatever the number, the Tony Award winner just loves being able to jet to the West Coast to belt out Broadway hits.
In fact singing with symphonies across the country is something she has been doing for some time. And while it would be completely wrong to assume that this particular show is part of a tour, she and her respected colleagues do occasionally partake in concerts that feature some of Broadway’s greatest hits.
“I sing with orchestras all over the world and this just happens to be one of them,” Gravitte said. “Sometimes I do a concert by myself; sometimes it’s with another person. Doug [LaBrecque] and I, in fact, have done a number of concerts together just the two of us, and sometimes it’s with three people, so it’s all kinds of different types of combinations.”
This year’s concert theme is Tony winners and is aptly called … and the Tony Goes To … and while there are some songs that the trio has sung many times before there will also be some songs that are new to this Broadway themed show.
“There will be some new stuff, “Gravitte added, “but I don’t want to give away all the songs! There are a couple of new things. There is a real flow to the evening, and the guy who produces these, John Such, puts together great shows.”
Gravitte doesn’t necessarily get to pick and choose what she will be singing, but being a Tony winner herself, she will be delighting the crowd with “Mr. Monotony”. Which just happens to be the song she sang that won her the Tony.
The Gay Men’s Chorus will also be joining Ms. Gravitte on a song that she is very excited about. “I get to sing “Hello Dolly” with them. I’m wearin’ feathers and everything.”
LaBrecque has also transitioned very smoothly from Broadway leading man to sought after concert singer. At the moment, like Gravitte, he is booked at least a year in advance and does at least 60 concerts around the world during that year.
Both agree that as much as they love the Great White Way, singing in concerts like these offers them great work and time off to enjoy family and friends.
Most Broadway audiences will most likely remember him as the title character in The Phantom of the Opera, and the revival of Showboat. Though for the last 13 years or so he has been happily performing in concerts.
“I was in a series of different shows,” LaBrecque said, “And at one point when I was in Phantom I got asked if I was interested in doing concerts. So I sang for [producer] John Such and went out and did one concert and he got good feedback and asked me if I was interested in doing more concerts and I said ‘yes’ and have been doing probably about 60 concerts a year for probably the last 12 years.”
LaBrecque has traveled the world doing concerts like this and has sung in some of the most famous houses in the country. Some of his favorites include Millennium Park and Ravinia in Chicago, Blossom Music Festival in Cleveland, Wolf Trap with the National Symphony, and Gerald R Ford Amphitheatre in Vale Colo., but this Midwest man is quite partial to Millennium Park.
When asked what drew him to music as a child, LaBrecque confessed to being a sports fan initially.
“I was from a small town in the Midwest and it was basically all about sports. I was a diver, a springboard diver and played all kinds of sports when I was a kid. And then just in the beginning of high school I got a little bit interested in choir and singing. I was in like one high school musical. And then not ‘til I got to college, actually after I got to college. I went to college for diving. I had a full ride athletic scholarship, and I sort of committed my first two years to that and then got really into theater more about my sophomore year.”
Joining LaBrecque will be Christiane Noll, who was nominated for a Tony for her work as Mother in the Tony Award winning musical Ragtime. She is a versatile musical theater performer and is just as at home playing comedic roles as well as dramatic, not to mention her ability to sing just about any kind of music.
This night looks set to be a San Diego favorite so get your seats now before they sell out. Log on to sandiegosymphony.com.
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