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.

That’s a Show Tune?

POP aSpread the word!!  Stage Notes is officially bi-coastal beginning Sunday (9/7) at 6 PM (PST) on KWXY 107.3, The Sound of the Desert in Palm Springs, California. I’m thrilled Stage Notes will be a part of KWXY’s fantastic programming.  Live stream at KWXY.com. 

Some of Broadway’s best show tunes are not just heard on the stage.There are some that really stand out, permeating pop culture, touching a nerve, and inspiring even the shyest to belt the lyrics.  Crooners  from the Rat Pack, Rosemary Clooney, and Tony Bennett would warble their own versions of top tunes from current shows and all of America would listen to them on the airwaves.  Join host Robert Hammond for this week’s Stage Notes.  He’ll feature some of Broadway’s best “pop” songs.

In the 1960s Broadway took a backseat to rock groups as teenagers dominated record sales. The Beatles recorded a memorable version of “Till There Was You” from The Music Man and Louis Armstrong’s Dixieland spin on “Hello, Dolly” was a hit, but the theater was no longer a major player in the record industry. Today the trend is changing with songs from Les Meserables, The Phantom of the Opera, and Wicked seeping into the mainstream through TV shows like Glee and American Idol.

Follow Robert on Twitter @stagenotes