The Utah Symphony's Pops Concerts are always crowd pleasers. And the great thing about the symphony's Broadway showcases are that they have something for everyone. The concerts are not only enjoyable, but they make Broadway-style music accessible to diehard fans and first-timers alike.
Friday night's concert at Abravanel Hall was no exception. Artists Debbie Gravitte, Melissa Errico and Marc Kudisch joined conductor David Cho for a program full of favorites and a few lesser-known gems.
While all of the guest artists were strong performers, Gravitte was the glue that held the show together. Her musicality, comedic sense of timing and contagious enthusiasm drew the audience in from the start.
Gravitte took command of the stage with "I'm the Greatest Star" from "Funny Girl" and kept up the momentum with the superfast syncopated "Getting Married Today" from "Company." Her rendition of "Memory" from "Cats" was heartfelt and beautiful, standing out as one of the best performances of the night.
Kudisch showed off his versatility jumping from light-hearted to serious pieces seamlessly. He had the audience laughing with him throughout "Where Is the Life That Late I Lead?" a song that ponders married life from "Kiss Me Kate."
He then cast a spell over the audience with "Music of the Night" from "Phantom of the Opera," capturing the nuances throughout the piece with his strong, rich voice. "The Impossible Dream" from "Man of LaMancha" was also particularly fine.
Of the three, Errico seemed the least comfortable on stage but covered it well with her sense of humor and pure sound. Having played the role of "My Fair Lady's" Eliza Doolittle on Broadway, Errico's "I Could Have Danced All Night" was spot on. And her version of "Don't Cry for Me Argentina" from "Evita" wowed the audience.
As a group, the performers played off each other well. Gravitte and Errico showed off their range with the duet "For Good" from "Wicked," and the trio's "Mama Mia" medley was just what it should be, silly fun with amazing energy.The symphony was in top form, setting the tone for the evening with the bubbly overture from "Funny Girl," and later with a deeply textured overture from "West Side Story."