Today’s Stage Notes was prerecorded. If you read this and then go to the second and final performance of Broadway Rocks, the first Pops concert music director Ward Stare has conducted in Rochester, you’ll think I was a bit hyperbolic. Don’t get me wrong, the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra was fantastic, especially the rhythm section, which is vitally important to a concert like Broadway Rocks, but overall the concert fell flat. I had higher expectations.
The main problem could have been the sound, particularly during the first act – it was muffled. From the Loge, I could barely hear the guest soloists and the choir from Roberts Wesleyan College.
The repertoire was outstanding—some of the biggest Broadway hits, including songs from Wicked, Hairspray, Jersey Boys, and The Phantom of the Opera were performed.
Before the concert, I knew little about Capathia Jenkins. She is all that and more! She brought down the house with her renditions of “And I’m Telling You I’m not Going” from Dreamgirls and “I will Survive.” She and the RPO are what make this concert worth attending.
Another guest vocalist, Rob Evan, could have survived without amplification. His highlights were Dennis DeYoung’s (lead singer from Styx) song “Come Sail Away” and “The Music of the Night,” from The Phantom of The Opera. His voice is strong; however, he could use a stylist.
I’ve seen guest vocalist Christiane Noll on Broadway and at Eastman. In general, I’ve been impressed. This concert is not suited for her. She seemed uncomfortable on stage. That’s not dancing, Sally! (Seinfeld reference.) She decimated a song that should have elevated the concert, “Defying Gravity.” Although the choir would have drowned her vocals out, I’m not sure why they weren’t included at the songs conclusion to proclaim “no one mourns the wicked.” Noll’s voice is pretty, as proved during the Theme from The Phantom of The Opera, but she’s no rocker.
Ward Stare’s forte is Classical conducting – last night he proved he’s a Pops pro, too. Rochester is lucky to have him. Please let me know when he conducts the RPO and the Capathia Jenkins show. I’ll be there.
Broadway Rocks is on stage in Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre tonight at 8 PM. Tickets and information at RPO.org.