Sir Tim Rice on Stage Notes

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Robert Hammond welcomed acclaimed lyricist Sir Tim Rice to Stage Notes to discuss the North Americain premiere of his musical, From Here to Eternity, on stage at the Merry-Go-Round Playhouse through July 20. He also talked about working with Elton John, Andrew Llyod Webber, and Alan Menken.

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Love is Love is Love is Love

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During LGBT Pride Month, I was pleased to welcome Rochester native Nicolette Hart to Stage Notes. She’s a Broadway superstar, a backup vocalist for Bette Midler, and one of the most talented triple threats I know.  My full interview with her, including songs, is available below.

Lin-Manuel Miranda won the award for Best Score for Hamilton, and in lieu of a traditional speech, he delivered a poem about love for his wife and the need for love in the wake of tragedy, no doubt responding to the horrific mass shooting in Orlando. By the end, he was in tears, and the crowd was cheering. Following is the transcript:

“My wife’s the reason anything gets done. She nudges me towards promise by degrees. She is a perfect symphony of one. Our son is her most beautiful reprise. We chase the melodies that seem to find us. Until they’re finished songs and start to play. When senseless acts of tragedy remind us. That nothing here is promised, not one day This show is proof that history remembers. We live through times when hate and fear seem stronger. We rise and fall, and light from dying embers. Remembrances that hope and love last longer. And love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love; Cannot be killed or swept aside. I sing Vanessa’s symphony; Eliza tells her story. Now fill the world with music, love, and pride.”

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Nicolette Hart performing with Bette Midler during It’s the Girls Tour

A Broadway Easter Celebration

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Join Host Robert Hammond (full program below) as he examines how religion influences musical theatre. The Book of Mormon is one of Broadway’s biggest box-office hits – recently there have been revivals of Christian-themed musicals — Godspell and Jesus Christ Superstar.  The revival of the revival of the revival (well, you get the picture!) of Les Miserables is still open on the Great White Way! The current revival closes in September.  easterAmong others, Fiddler on the Roof and Spring Awakening are steeped with religious undertones. It’s probably fair to say that the theater has seen the way of the Lord. Has someone been putting sacrament in the water? Or have playwrights just gotten in touch with their devout or devoutly satirical sides?

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Stage Notes Rocks Out with Ward Stare

Ward-StareMaestro Wards Stare, Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra’s music director, joined host Robert Hammond in studio  at WXXI to talk about the RPO’s upcoming concerts, Broadway Rocks. Stage Notes did indeed rock out with songs from Wicked, Rent, The Phantom of the Opera, Hairspray, and more. Full program available on demand below.

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Stare is likable and knowledgeable. You’ll enjoy the lightness of the conversation, especially the life stories he shares. His story about the famous Styx song “Come Sail Away” is a highlight. Sit back and listen to a special rockin’ edition of Stage Notes. Remember to follow Stage notes on Twitter @stagenotes, and like our page on  Facebook.

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Stage Notes Pays Tribute to David Bowie

wolfIn tribute to David Bowie, host Robert Hammond aired Sergei Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf, narrated by Bowie. Conducted by Eugene Ormandy and performed by the Philadelphia Orchestra, this classical composition was originally released in 1978. Hammond aired the 1992 remastered version in its entirety on Stage Notes the week of January 10, 2016.  The entire program now available on demand below.

Happy Anniversary, Stage Notes!

HAIt seems Like Stage Notes began airing on WXXI FM 91.5 yesterday – October 24th marked its sixth anniversary.  Although it airs elsewhere throughout the country, WXXI was the first station that gave it the green light.

Thank you for listening and supporting the program.  Below is a link to the full anniversary program that aired.  It featured many special guests, including Norm Silverstein, Sue Rogers, Elissa Orlando, Ruth Phinney, and Julia Figueras. NPR’s Ari Shapiro was kind enough to join the celebration. Thank you, Ari!

Please Follow Stage Notes on Twitter @stagenotes, and be sure to like our page on Facebook.  Again, thank you.  Enjoy!

Megan Hilty is a Smash

Megan Hilty with RPO's president, Charlie Owen.
Megan Hilty with RPO president, Charlie Owens.

The  Rochester Pop’s season opened last night with the glorious Megan Hilty.  Don’t worry, if you didn’t go, you have one more chance—tonight at 8 at Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre. Do not miss out!

You know you’re in for something wonderful when conductor Jeff Tyzik starts out a concert  by saying the guest is not only talented, but a genuinely nice person. For anyone who attends Pops concerts as frequently as I do, you know he does not often gush about artists.

The orchestra began the concert performing a Tyzik arrangement of some of Marvin Hamlisch’s best known songs, including “The Way We Were,” “Nobody Does it Better, “The Entertainer,” and of course, many selections from A Chorus Line. It was a splendid way to begin the night, and the orchestra was in top form.

Then, Megan Hilty came out. Wow! Yes, she’s beautiful! Her gowns were breathtaking. But boy, this girl can sing! She does so with such ease and control. There wasn’t a second when she and the orchestra weren’t perfectly in synch. Her ability to interpret every nuance of a song leaves you hanging on every note. Her expression and grace are unparalleled. She was born to be on stage.

The concert was filled with Broadway standards, including  “Luck be a Lady Tonight” and a highpoint, “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend.” I believe Ms. Hilty could be described as a modern day Marilyn Monroe.

Speaking of Norma Jeane, another highpoint was Hilty’s performance of a song from Smash, the two season musical drama on NBC she starred in, “Second Hand Baby Grand.” Prior to its performance, she gave a detailed description about the song. After sung, few eyes were dry. I’ve included the version from Smash (on demand below).

We will be hearing a lot more about Megan Hilty. She is a star. She is a Smash.

Hilty is on stage again tonight with the Rochester Pops. Information is available at RPO.org.