"BRAVO BROADWAY," UTAH SYMPHONY, Deer Valley Amphitheater, Saturday
DEER VALLEY If you haven't taken advantage of the Deer Valley Summer Music Festival where the Utah Symphony plays nestled in the surrounding mountains of Deer Valley Ski Resort you're missing out.
This year's "Broadway Rocks!" was one of the better Broadway concerts I've seen in quite some time.
Opening with the beautiful overture to Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Jesus Christ Superstar," the Utah Symphony sounded wonderful under the direction of Randall Fleischer, who commented on the gorgeous view from the stage.
Interestingly, the symphony did not advertise the vocalists in advance, which was a mistake since they were outstanding, and all with Broadway credit.
The four vocalists included Susan Egan, most notably the original Belle in Broadway's "Beauty and the Beast"; Capathia Jenkins, who starred in "The Civil War" and "Caroline or Change; Rob Evans, who played leading roles in "Jekyll and Hyde" as well as Jean Valjean in "Les Miserables"; and Gary Mauer, who starred in "The Phantom of the Opera" and "Les Miserables."
Saturday night's concert had a great mix of Broadway tunes and a noticeably more current feel. Absent were the classics of Rodgers and Hammerstein, Lerner and Loewe and the like, but the audience didn't seem to mind, applauding heartily for tunes from "Rent," "Hairspray" and "The Who's Tommy."
Rob Evans' "This is the Moment," from "Jekyll and Hyde" was stunning, and his "Anthem" from "Chess" was equally beautiful. Egan and Jenkins sang "For Good," a crowd favorite from "Wicked." They were also joined on stage by symphony choir member Tamara Sleight for the title song from "Dreamgirls."
Egan belted out "Defying Gravity," again, a crowd favorite. And Gary Mauer finished the evening with a fabulous rendition of "Music of the Night" from "Phantom," but not before a "Mamma Mia" medley (which sadly only consisted of two songs) and an interesting duet by Evan and Egan, "Total Eclipse of the Heart," a song that was in a little-known musical called "Dracula" before Bonnie Tyler made it a hit.
The group encored with "Aquarius," which wasn't much of a surprise since it seems to be the popular encore choice at this event. Still, that didn't stop members of the audience from dancing and singing along.
Bravo to the Utah Symphony, the wonderful guest artists and Deer Valley's gorgeous backdrop for a fun night filled with a fresh mix of some of Broadway's biggest hits.The only downside to the evening was the massive traffic jam in Parleys Canyon afterward. After a two hour commute home (which would normally take 40 minutes) we were left wondering if there was any way to open up a few lanes for folks trying to leave Park City activities which, this weekend, also included the Park City Arts Festival.