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REVIEW: Andrew Lloyd Webber salute features 2 knockouts
Monday, 04 September 2017 15:17
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FLAT ROCK — The show “The Music of the Night: The Songs of Andrew Lloyd Webber” demonstrated the amazing depth and breadth of Webber’s musical legacy during an Aug. 26 performance on the mainstage at Flat Rock Playhouse.

All 506 seats were filled for the show, which runs through Sept. 3. The FRP previously performed the show in April 2011.

There were two stunning performances — on “Superstar” and “I Don’t Know How to Love Him,” both from the 1970 rock opera “Jesus Christ Superstar.” Webber produced the music and Tim Rice wrote the lyrics for the show that now is billed as a “global phenomenon.”

“I Don’t Know How to Love Him” was the first song of the night, following the “Opening Medley” (which served as an overture). Clad in a gorgeous teal gown and singing beautifully — as she strummed an acoustic guitar — was Julie Foldesi.

Meanwhile, Jason Wooten was simply smashing in singing — with attitude and a terrific tenor voice — the song “Superstar” in the role of Judas Iscariot, wherein he asks Jesus a series of questions that go unanswered.

Weber, 69, is considered one of the best-ever musical theater composers, having received an Academy Award, four Grammy awards and seven Tony awards. In 2001, The New York Times referred to him as “the most commercially successful composer in history” 

Besides “Jesus Christ Superstar,” Webber has written the music for nearly a dozen Broadway mega-hits including “Starlight Express,” “Phantom of the Opera,” “Cats,” “Evita” and most recently, “School of Rock.” The FRP noted in a promotion that, “with a career that has spanned over half a century, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s work has defined a musical theater generation.”

The show’s format is a one-hour first set, a 15-minute intermission and a 45-minute second set.

In addition to the top-notch performances of “Superstar” and “I Don’t Know How to Love Him,” the show’s dazzling numbers include “The Music of the Night,” “Variations” (an instrumental) and “Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina.”

The four featured vocalists include Julie Foldesi, Guy Lemonnier (an original member of Trans-Siberian Orchestra), Lindsey O’Neil and Jason Wooten. “The Music of the Night” also includes the backup singing efforts of the 33-member Flat Rock Chorus, whose vocal director is Diane David.

The show was directed by Matthew Glover. Other contributors included Adam Goodrum, production manager, Lenora Thom, music director; Amelia Driscall, stage manager; C.J. Hartwell, lighting designer; Ashli Arnold Crump, costume designer; Kurt Conway, sound designer; and Paul Feraldi, props master.

Besides leading the band, Thom also played — with obvious gusto — keyboard, along with Mariya Potapova, violin; Jim Anthony, reeds; David Gaines, keyboard; Bill Altman, guitar; Ryan Guerra, bass; and Paul Babelay, drums.

Following “Opening Melody” and “I Don’t Know How to Love Him,” the first set included “Oh, What a Circus” / Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina,” “Phantom of the Opera / All I Ask of You,” “Starlight Express” / ”I Believe in My Heart” / ”No Matter What,” “Pie Jesu,” “Variations,” “Music of the Night” and “And the Music Kept Rolling In.”

The second set opened with “The Vaults of Heaven,” followed by “Tell Me on a Sunday”/”Take That Look Off Your Face,” “It’s Easy for You”/”Cold,” “As If We Never Said Goodbye”/”Sunset Boulevard,” “Whislte Down the Wind,” “Memory” and “Superstar.”

The tribute performance closed with a yet-to-be officially released song — “Till I Hear You Sing” — from an upcoming Webber show. The crowd responded with a sustained standing ovation.



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