By Michael Reubens
Scott Siegel created, wrote, directed and hosted the nineteenth season of Broadway By The Year at New York ’s The Town Hall for one-night on Monday June 17th to what was hot on The Big White Way, circa 1987 and 2015 respectively.
Siegel went back in time as he narrated in detail not just the big shows of the two aforementioned years but the history that affected America and the world during those somewhat turbulent and exciting periods as he introduced us to the various performers for the evening.
For those of a certain age it was like revisiting The Ed Sullivan Show or a star-studded TV variety programme, the talent, top rate!
In 1987 Into the Woods, Les Miserables and Starlight Express dominated the first half of the show. Brian Charles Rooney, Kenita Miller, Maxine Linehan, Farah Alvin, Lisa Howard, Cooper Grodin and Mercer Patterson belted out all time favourites. Renditions of Bring Him Home (Les Miz) by Mr Rooney, I Dreamed a Dream (Les Miz) by Ms. Linehan, On My Own (Les Miz) and Empty Chairs at Empty Tables (Les Miz) by Mr. Patterson, son of Musical Director, Ross Patterson, were all greeted with a loud and enthusiastic applause.
The second half of the show focused on 2015 and gave us the mega-hit Hamilton, An American in Paris , and Fun Home. Jeanine Bruen sang the up tempo and energy driven hit Everlasting Love (On Your Feet), and Mr. Rooney returned with I’ll be Back, a King George III satire (Hamilton). Farah Alvin brought tears to our eyes with an emotional The Man I Love (An American in Paris).
The evening culminated in the entire company beautifully singing Amazing Grace and last, but certainly not least, a big bravo to the two dancers, Brent McBeth & Phoebe Garcia Pearl whose brilliant choreography also by Mr. McBeth danced up a storm with tap shoes and radiant smiles. Mr. Rooney sang the ironic Songs you shouldn’t dance to as the dancers graced the stage. Kudos also to Tom Hubbard (bass) and Eric Halvorson (drums).
Scott Siegel pulled this off to aplomb. I can hardly wait for the twentieth season!
*photos courtesy Maryann Lopinto.