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Life's journey celebrated in BYU Young Ambassadors' new stage show

By Blair Howell

For the Deseret News

Published: Wednesday, March 16 2011 4:42 p.m. MDT

"Casey at the Bat" is one of the musical selections at the Young Ambassadors musical review "Harmony: The Music of Life," March 17-19 at the BYU de Jong Concert Hall.

BYU

The joys of each new step in the journey through life will be celebrated at the Young Ambassadors’ “Harmony: The Music of Life.”

“Life can be a rollercoaster ride,” said Randall Boothe, artistic director for the Young Ambassadors. “There are different cycles to our lives, and we need to stop and enjoy each moment.”

The all-new musical review will premiere at BYU’s de Jong Concert Hall March 17-19. The cast of 20 performers and 10 band members will then perform in the Southern states through the summer, followed by tours to South Africa and China.

Developed over a two-year period, “Harmony” is divided into sections to focus on the five stages of life: childhood, growing up, falling in love, family times and growing old.

“We began by interviewing people from all walks of life, from children to grandparents,” Boothe said. “We asked them what makes life good for them and how much is music a part of their life.

“The feelings presented are universal,” he added. “Audiences will smile and say, ‘Yes, that’s right. That’s just how I feel.’ ”

Video clips of these interviews will be presented during the 90-minute production.

The stage show’s 24 songs include a mix of standards such as “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” “Sing, Sing, Sing” and “When I Fall in Love,” and contemporary theater pieces from “Wicked,” “Dreamgirls” and “Hairspray.” Five new songs written specifically for this show are included along with LDS composer Steven Kapp Perry’s “The Way of Things.”

Also on the song list for “Harmony” is a little-known composition Boothe called “one of the finest pieces of new music I’ve ever heard in quite a while.” Written by Broadway composer Jason Robert Brown, part of the lyrics are “Stay as the days go past / Some things are meant to last / Grow old with me / And we’ll stay forever young.”

The Young Ambassadors’ show recently enjoyed enthusiastic support at previews in Southern California, Boothe said.

“After the shows, when our members visit with audiences, ushers had to shoo audiences out of the theater,” he said. “Audiences just didn’t want to leave.”

During its 40-year history, the Young Ambassadors have toured over 60 foreign countries, giving performances for the prime minister of India, the queen of Thailand and the king and queen of Jordan.

Of the group’s ability to bridge what can be cultural boundaries, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Gregory Newell said, “As unofficial ambassadors for the United States, the Young Ambassadors are without peer.”

Ticket information is available at byuarts.com/tickets or by calling 801-422-4322.

Blair Howell is a freelance editor and writer.

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