By Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk
Ask anyone to name their favorite Broadway musical, and you’ll almost certainly get a list of several, if not many. And there’s only one way to hear music from many of your favorite musicals in one night.
Hear songs from Wicked, The Lion King, and Jersey Boys at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Jan. 26-27, and at 3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 28. Enjoy old favorites from The Sound of Music and Annie in DeVos Performance Hall, 303 Monroe Ave. NW.
Part of the Fox Motors Pops series, John Varineau will conduct the Grand Rapids Symphony as the orchestra performs an eclectic mix of songs in the show created, produced, and directed by the acclaimed cabaret artist Scott Coulter.
Guests include Jessica Hendy, who previously sang at Grand Rapids Symphony’s “Celebrate America” concert at Cannonsburg Ski Area for the D&W Fresh Market Picnic Pops in July 2009. Hendy previously appeared on Broadway as Grizabella in Cats as well as in Grand Rapids on its national tour.
Scott Coulter, one of New York’s top award-winning vocalists returns to West Michigan to sing “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” with the Grand Rapids Symphony among other songs.
Not long ago, Scott starred in An Evening with Scott Coulter: Broadway and Beyond at Kalamazoo’s Farmer’s Alley Theatre, a theater founded by a friend from music school.
“I think of my [singing] style as musical storytelling,” Scott said to Farmer’s Alley Theatre. “I do pretty familiar material but people often tell me that they felt like they heard the song for the first time – or in a new light.”
It’s not only theater and concert goers who enjoy Scott’s musical interpretation. The Oscar and Grammy award-winning composer Stephen Schwartz, whose work includes Godspell, Wicked, and Enchanted, has described Coulter’s musical talents like this: “One of the best things that can happen to a composer is to have his music interpreted by Scott Coulter.”
Coulter has worked frequently with Schwartz, as have guest soloists Jessica Hendy, Kelli Rabke and John Boswell.
Called a “vocal powerhouse” with great range by critics, Jessica Hendy most recently worked with Schwartz on his cabaret-style show, The Wizard and I. Hendy, whose voice sometime seem to defy gravity, will sing some of the most electric songs of the program including “Circle of Life” from The Lion King, “Memory” from Cats, and, of course, “Defying Gravity” from Wicked.
Kelli Rabke, best known for her role of Narrator in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Eponine in Les Misérables, also worked with Schwartz in The Wizard and I. As a frequent musical partner with Coulter, she will join him again in the upcoming show, Music of the Knights, which features songs composed by three British musical legends, all knighted by the Queen of England: Elton John, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Paul McCartney.
Along with other songs, Rabke will perform, “I Dreamed a Dream,” the song that serves as an emotional lynchpin in Les Misérables, one of the best-known musicals of all-time.
Music Director, pianist, and vocalist John Boswell co-arranged the music for Blockbuster Broadway with Scott Coulter. In addition to writing music for television, John has crafted numerous piano-driven albums, called “accessible, impressionistic tone-poems” by critics. For Blockbuster Broadway, he sings “You’ve Lost that Lovin’ Feelin’” from Beautiful: The Carole King Musical.
With the warmth and energy of the Grand Rapids Symphony, Broadway returns to Grand Rapids. Performed with a live symphony, it’s a rare opportunity to hear some of Broadway’s best songs by stellar vocalists.
Tickets start at $18 and are available at the GRS ticket office, weekdays 9 am-5 pm at 300 Ottawa Ave. NW, Suite 100, (located across from the Calder Plaza), or by calling 616.454.9451 x 4. (Phone orders will be charged a $2 per ticket service fee, with a $12 maximum.)
Tickets are available at the DeVos Place box office, weekdays 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. or on the day of the concert beginning two hours prior to the performance. Tickets also may be purchased online at GRSymphony.org.
Full-time students of any age are able to purchase tickets for only $5 on the night of the concert by enrolling in the GRS Student Ticketsprogram, sponsored by Comerica and Calvin College. This is a MySymphony360 eligible concert.