Broadway is still alive and well. And it’s earning ovations in Queens! Five true Broadway headliners are hitting all the high notes and their lowest notes too. Their vehicle is “101 Years of Broadway” at Queens College’s Colden Auditorium at Kupferberg Center.
Producer, composer Neil Berg is the show’s narrator and central musician. He pounds the piano keys with the unwavering confidence of a true maestro. His passion for music is obvious. He offers historical insights into what has made Broadway such an iconic place. Even more important is his willingness to share precious pieces of his personal life.
This includes the recent passing of his own father. Clearly, “101 Years…” is an A-list show with feelings!
Berg’s wife Rita Harvey is a seasoned Broadway soprano. During the show she sings a powerful song from “Phantom of the Opera,” offers a musical tribute to Judy Garland and joins in a duet from “Wicked” with Natalie Toro.
Ms. Toro receives several standing ovations for her powerful versions of the biggest songs from “Evita,” “Cats,” and “Les Miserables.” Another “Les Miz” celeb, Craig Schulman, truly mesmerizes with his duet from “Phantom…” and his solo from “Les Miz.” Statuesque Luba Mason proudly reveals to the audience that she is originally from Astoria. She punctuates the evening with Chicago’s “All that Jazz,” “Cabaret” and a breath taking version of “Send in the Clowns.”
Charismatic Danny Zolli sings rock and roll from “Jersey Boys,” “Jesus Christ Superstar,” Billy Joel’s “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant” and Simon & Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water.” Berg calls Zolli’s selections “juke box musicals” in which popular songs become hit musicals.
The troupe has given over 100 performances across the map this past year alone. What is so clear and so successful is their emotional investment in each song’s presentation. For example, Zolli stops before one of his numbers to confide in the audience. He wants this evening to be especially important. You see, his wife and in-laws have finally had a chance to watch him perform. And this is the night.
Most recently produced by Gary Fuchs’ JES Entertainment, this Broadway revue makes frequent visits to our borough. For information on the many outstanding programs at Kupferberg Center call the box office at (718) 793-8080 or surf to www.kupferbergcenter.org. As always, save me a seat on the aisle.