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Review: BACK TO BROADWAY Sparks Memories with Musical Theatre Magic at RED MOUNTAIN THEATRE

Musical Theatre Songs Takes Center Stage in this Powerhouse Revue

Review: BACK TO BROADWAY Sparks Memories with  Musical Theatre Magic at RED MOUNTAIN THEATRE

If you heard a thunderous boom last night, it wasn't Doc Brown's DeLorean. It was Red Mountain Theatre's singing at 88mph, sending Birmingham "Back To Broadway". This high-energy musical theater revue is the perfect kick off for the inaugural season at Red Mountain Theatre's brand new art campus in Parkside.

As soon as you walk in the doors, you are transported to a bright, modern facility with all the comforts of home for the arts.

"Back To Broadway" bright and illuminating performance on Thursday night brought smiles from a packed house of excited fans of musical theatre hits. They were not disappointed. A talented cast with highly polished voices was eager to dive into classic and contemporary musical theatre. The audience ate up showstoppers from Les Misérables, The Lion King, Wicked, Guys and Dolls, Beauty and the Beast, Fiddler on the Roof, Waitress, and many more. The emotions ran a gambit from huge belly laughs, to somber reflection. The show is also full of fun, fresh arrangements of Broadway standards.

Review: BACK TO BROADWAY Sparks Memories with  Musical Theatre Magic at RED MOUNTAIN THEATRE

"Back to Broadway" is conceived and constructed by Executive Director Keith Cromwell, Music Supervisor Anthony Smith, and Associate Artistic Director Roy Lightner.

"We selected material that represented each of the singers as individuals and that play to their strengths." Lightner says. "In a concert, you find the moments you can stand and live in the music, find moments for fun, and then find moments for more traditional musical theater, or to an operetta and to more contemporary musical theatre. Putting all those elements together was thrilling."

Musical director Anthony Smith (a fresh transplant from New York City) created fresh and emotionally stirring arrangements. "I took note in this opportunity to get to know the musicians here in Birmingham." Smith says. "Some of them have been playing for over 25 years. I made sure to write solos and features for everyone in the arrangement. As I started working with everyone, all of the players started to dictate where some of the pieces went."

Cast members Alie B. Gorrie, Anastas Varinos, Tawny Stephens, and Avionce Hoyles shared their insights on bringing this first show in the new 60,000 square feet, $25 million, one block long arts campus.

Review: BACK TO BROADWAY Sparks Memories with  Musical Theatre Magic at RED MOUNTAIN THEATRE

Alie B. Gorrie - Powerhouse vaudevillian and community education manager at Red Mountain Theatre

"Honestly, performing here feels like you're walking in the possibility of what theater can be and will be" Gorrie says. "We had time to reimagine because we didn't have it for so long. Performing in a space like this lets us live in the reality and dream possibility all at the same time."

Review: BACK TO BROADWAY Sparks Memories with  Musical Theatre Magic at RED MOUNTAIN THEATRE

Anastas Varinos - Spitfire vocals / comedic player and academy manager at Red Mountain Theatre.

"It's great to be back doing what we love." He says gleefully. "Performing is such a gift and one that I never plan to take for granted ever again. I felt I did before this pandemic and now being able to do this in this in this beautiful new space is I can't think of anything better."

Review: BACK TO BROADWAY Sparks Memories with  Musical Theatre Magic at RED MOUNTAIN THEATRE

Tawny Stephens - Songbird with a powerful voice with heart

"The fact is we get to stand in front of people, and sing, and tell a story. That is something that I will never take for granted again never. When I think about theater, I think there's going to come a day where we can't do this anymore but today is not that day. We get to enjoy being in front of people again. Sharing that experience is overwhelming and miraculous in of itself.

Review: BACK TO BROADWAY Sparks Memories with  Musical Theatre Magic at RED MOUNTAIN THEATRE

Avionce Hoyles - Dynamic soulful vocal showman from New York City.

"It's amazing to be front of a live audience again. There's energy there that's undeniable, it's what we need. The gifts we've been given are not for us, we're supposed to use it for someone else." Hoyles says. "Our responsibility is it take that gift and say ok, this is what we do. We study, we tune it, and then we give it back. That's how I think about it."

"The voices can get in your head." Stephens adds. "At some point there came this realization that it's not about me and whether I think I did XY or Z right. It's about did I reach somebody? Did I make a moment for them? Did they create an experience that changed them? When you think about it that way, you don't really care about perfection. You care about connection.

That connection is where "Back to Broadway" succeeds. The show strongly delivers a dream playlist of memorable tunes by an ensemble of dynamite singers. Just a few are "The Wizard and I", "The Impossible Dream", "If I Were a Rich Man", "Hakuna Matata!"

Review: BACK TO BROADWAY Sparks Memories with  Musical Theatre Magic at RED MOUNTAIN THEATRE

The cool new arrangements help make a spark built from emotions and memories. Many people have an invested connection to a show or song for sentimental reasons.

The most important character is the audience." Lightner says. "Building something that gives audience members nostalgia, hope, and joy. Something may be introduced through a few things they've never heard before, and then we give them a song that they may know all the words to.

The talented cast is placed on risers next to the band, freeing up the spacious stage for the cast to move about doing the slick choreography. The sounds and lights provide strong accents. The costumes all gell with tones that accentuate each performers presence.

Review: BACK TO BROADWAY Sparks Memories with  Musical Theatre Magic at RED MOUNTAIN THEATRE

This simple but powerhouse performance of "Back to Broadway" is a sparking the fuse to a boom of explosive creativity and possibility at the new Red Mountain Theatre campus. Not only just in this upcoming season but for years to come.

The performance only runs this weekend until Sunday. You have time to see the show. Red Mountain Theatre has a lengthy and well-deserved history of showcasing top tier talent in top tier productions. "Back to Broadway" is a show you leave smiling, singing, and reminiscing. Be sure to bring someone to share this experience with. It's a memory making evening.

Review: BACK TO BROADWAY Sparks Memories with  Musical Theatre Magic at RED MOUNTAIN THEATRE

CAST

Lauren Boyd, Kathleen Buccleugh, Kristen Campbell, Jeff Degarmo, Chris Farley

Bradford H. Forehand, Alie B. Gorrie. JJ Haight, Davis MacLeod Haines ,

Regina Harbour, Kyle Holman, Avionce Hoyles, Eboni Janaé, Randy Mayo ,

Tawny Stephens, Sophie Temple, Anastas Varinos, Olivia J. Vaughn

Red Mountain Theatre

"Back to Broadway"

Created by Executive Director Keith Cromwell, Music Supervisor Anthony Smith, and Associate Artistic Director Roy Lightner.

1600 3rd Ave S, Birmingham, AL 35233

Friday Oct 29 - 8pm

Sat Oct 30 - 2pm and 8pm

Sun Oct 31 - 2pm

How to get Tickets

Visit website - here

Please read directions on their website for COVID protocols.



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