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Playhouse ends Hendersonville run with a bang
Thursday, 06 December 2018 16:16

Teatro delights with musical Broadway revue

By JOHN NORTH
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HENDERSONVILLE — The male vocal quartet, Teatro, made its Western North Carolina debut during the final Music on the Rock production at Flat Rock Playhouse’s Hendersonville venue at 125 S. Main St. 

The FRP announced recently that, after a seven-year run, it is closing its downtown Hendersonville stage and concentrating its resources and efforts on its mainstage in Flat Rock. 

The Nov. 17 performance, which is the focus of this review, filled 182 of the 250 theater seats. The show ran Nov. 15-17.

Comprised of two 45-minute sets, the production finished with “Can You Feel the Love Tonight?” from “The Lion King.” It prompted a standing ovation that included sustained applause.

The performers smiled out at the crowd and one of them asked, “You want one more?” The crowd cheered in response.The group performed, as an encore, “The Impossible Dream” from “The Man of La Mancha.” The rousing rendition triggered another standing ovation, but this time the house lights were turned up, the performers bowed and left the stage permanently.

Regarding Teatro, the FRP noted, it is “often billed as theatre’s first supergroup.” The Playhouse also touted Teatro as “featuring a phenomenal group of talented vocalists.” who take an audience “on a musical journey through the greatest songs of Broadway. Audiences can expect this production to sweep them far, far away, with classics from ‘Les Miserables’ and ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ to ‘Guys and Dolls’ and ‘West Side Story.

’“Teatro will bring a taste of late-night New York City to downtown Hendersonville,” the Playhouse stated.

Indeed, each performance of the show featured cabaret-style seating, which afforded audience members a more intimate experience with the performers.

The vocalists included Jeremiah James, who appeared in last year’s production of “The Little Shop of Horrors,” along with three men making their FRP debuts — Forest VanDyke, Nicholas Verina and Jason Watson.

The show’s strength was the stellar performance of the singers in their leads and harmonies, stage presence and choreography.

Alas, the obvious flaw was that they performed to recorded music, instead of with a live band or orchestra, which has been the usual standard in the Music on the Rock series.

The show opened with “The Music of the Night,” with all four vocalists dressed in black suits, ties and shoes, with two of them wearing white — and the other two black — shirts. The song was from Andew Lloyd Weber’s “The Phantom of the Opera.”

Teatro’s rendition of “Luck Be a Lady” from the show “Guys and Dolls” was powerful and prompted loud and sustained applause from the audience.

Other memorable first-set songs included “I Dreamed a Dream,” “Love Changes,” “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina” and “I Am What I Am.”

Among the top songs of the second set were “What I Did for Love,” “Memory,” “I’ve Got This Feeling,” “Over the Rainbow” and “Try to Remember.

Early in the show, the singers pointed out that there was some disagreement among “musical theater purists” regarding who was the better composer — Steven Sondheim or Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Perhaps of interest to the layman, the vocalists noted that, while Sondheim is arguably the most revered and awarded composer in the industry, few of his shows have turned a profit in their original forms. In contrast, Webber’s “Lion King” show “grossed more money” than the next nine top-grossing Broadway musicals combined. “The Lion King”  reportedly grossed $1.6 billion through 8,519 performances.

Regarding “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina” from the show “Evita,” the vocalists said that it was performed superbly by a number of female vocalists. However, pop star Madonna is best-remembered for her rendition in the movie version of “Evita.”

In a lighter vein, the singers asked the mostly older crowd if there were any fans of pop singer Justin Timberlake in attendance — and only two or three hands were raised.

Right before the vocal quartet launched into its rendition of “I’ve Got This Feeling” (from the show “Trolls’), one of the singers prompted broad smiles from the crowd when he quipped, “This song is for your children — and the three Justin Timberlake fans in the audience!”


 



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