Broadway's Ryan Silverman & Nikki Renee Daniels Join Detroit Symphony in Salute to Mad Men Era Program
Broadway stars Ryan Silverman and Nikki Renée Daniels joined the Detroit Symphony Orchestra on Friday in its current pops program, "The Cocktail Hour: Music of the Mad Men Era." The program was created and conducted by Maestro Steven Reineke, Music Director of the New York Pops at Carnegie Hall, and Principal Pops Conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Performances run through March 16.
The program opened with the quirky jazz with Latin flavored 1968 instrumental pop tune "Mini Skirt" by Juan García Esquivel, then quickly progressed to "Tu vuò fà l'americano" in English, sung by Ryan. I've only heard the 1958 Italian version by Renato Carosone, so it was a delight for me to hear it in English. The third selection, "Bésame Mucho" featured Ryan's gorgeous voice again, and it was stellar. For the fourth selection, he was joined by Nikki to sing the Tom Jone's Hit, "It's Not Unusual." Nikki remained on stage for the next number, "Fly Me To The Moon."
The television series "Mad Men" began in 2007 on AMC and has won fifteen Emmys and four Golden Globes. The first half of the final season will premiere on April 13, 2014. In a special tribute to the show, Maestro Reineke conducted a suite of tunes heard in the series. The medley was followed by an astonishing rendition of "Sway" featuring Ryan.
Nikki performed the eighth piece, "What'll I Do?", a 1923 piece by Irving Berlin. The song was featured in Nelson Riddle's Academy award-winning period score for the 1974 film The Great Gatsby starring Robert Redford and Mia Farrow. Maestro Reineke accompanied Nikki on the piano.
Reineke then conducted his selection of crime show medleys. Although there were many in the series, the only one I recognized was from reruns of Dragnet. Ryan came back on stage to perform selection ten, "I, who have nothing" made famous by welsh singers Dame Shirley Bassey and Tom Jones. Ryan made the house roar in thunderous applause for this number, which he nailed.
After a short intermission, Maestro Reineke presented a fantastic medley of songs from Burt Bacharach. I counted "I say a little prayer," "Do you know the way to San Jose," "Raindrops keep falling on my head," "Always something there to remind me," "What's up pussy cat," "I'll never fall in love again," and "What the world needs now." At that point I got so caught up in the ecstasy of the performance I forgot to write down the selections, but it was thrilling!
Next came "You know I'm no good" and "Luck be a lady," with Ryan on vocals. This piece was fantastic because it included the original orchestral arrangement used by Frank Sinatra; Ryan brought the house down with this one.
Nikki and Ryan sang vocals on "Something Stupid," a gold single made into a hit by Frank Sinatra and daughter Nancy. It was the first and only instance of a father-daughter number-one song in America. Nikki related that Nancy Sinatra has said she thinks it's "very sweet" that some people refer to it as the "Incest Song".
Nikki turned up the energy when she performed "These boots are made for walkin'" and made several gestures pointing to Maestro throughout the song. By the end of the number, the handsome conductor ran toward the chanteuse, fell to his knees, sliding on the planks in a spectacle of momentum until reaching the booted lady. He held his hands as if to beg her forgiveness; the audience roared with laughter.
The program continued with "Moondance," then "Charade," the Henry Mancini Latin-inspired theme from the 1963 film of the same name starring Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn, where a woman is pursued by several men who want the fortune her murdered husband had stolen.
Ryan and Nikki returned to perform the last number on the program, "Feeling Good" by Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse, made popular by Michael Bublé. The symphony's encore performance, "Twistin' The Night Away," inspired the audience to jump to their feet and dance while singing the famous Sam Cook tune. "Let me tell you about a place, somewhere up in New York way, where the people are so gay, twistin' the night away."
The gays came out in full pageantry; you know you have a hit show when the gays are clamoring to see you. This gay loved the show. Don't miss out, it runs through Sunday.
Ryan Silverman most recently starred in the Broadway and Las Vegas productions of "The Phantom of the Opera" as Raoul. With a beautiful voice and extraordinary range, Ryan has moved smoothly across various genres including opera, pop musicals, traditional music theater , big band, and symphony concerts. Other Broadway/NYC credits include Music In The Air (Karl) Encores!, Cry baby (Cry Baby u/s), Most Happy Fella (Al)-NYC Opera. His portrayal of Tony in the Oliver nominated 2008 West End production received universal raves. Concert work includes the NY Pops (Carnegie Hall), Seattle Symphony with Marvin Hamlisch, Cincinnati Pops, Philadelphia Orchestra, Philly Pops, Utah, Vancouver, Edmonton, Modesto, Hartford, and Fort Worth symphonies. Cabaret appearances include Feinstein's and the Café Carlyle.Touring credits include: Phantom (Raoul)-Las Vegas, Mamma Mia (Sky) 1st National Tour, Wicked (Fiero u/s) Chicago. He is featured in the upcoming feature film "Five Minarets" with Danny Glover and Gina Gershon. Ryan recently starred in a new theatrical musical entitled "The Secret Life of Nora" which opened in Malaysia opposite Malaysian superstar, Tiara Jacqueline. Ryan originally hails from Alberta, Canada. www.ryansilverman.com and www.facebook.com/RyanSilvermanonline.
Nikki Renée Daniels was most recently seen on Broadway singing "Summertime" as Clara in the 2012 Tony Award-winning revival of the Gershwins' Porgy and Bess. Other Broadway credits include LES MISERABLES (Fantine); Nine (Renata); Aida (Nehebka); Little Shop of Horrors; The Look of Love; Promises, Promises; Anything Goes and Lestat. She made her New York City Opera debut as Clara in Porgy and Bess. Recently, Nikki played the featured role of Tracy in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall, and was featured as a nun in the live NBC presentation of The Sound of Music. Regional theater credits include Ray Charles Live! (Della B.) at Pasadena Playhouse; Anything Goes (Hope) at Williamstown Theatre Festival; Beauty and the Beast (Belle) at Sacramento Music Circus, American Musical Theater of San Jose and North Shore Music Theater; Ragtime (Sarah) at North Shore Music Theatre; Aida (Aida) and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Narrator) at ArtPark and Dorian (Celia) at the Denver Center. Film and television credits include The Other Woman and Chappelle's Show.