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Review: Dazzling Young Broadway Talents ZACHARY NOAH PISER AND ADAM ROTHENBERG at Starring Buffalo And Musicalfare


Review:  Dazzling Young Broadway Talents ZACHARY NOAH PISER AND ADAM ROTHENBERG at Starring Buffalo And Musicalfare
Zachary Noah Piser and Adam Rothenberg
Creative programming for theatre companies has become a do or die venture during the covid pandemic, so Starring Buffalo and Musicalfare Theatre have joined forces to give their own patrons and the world of the internet a chance to escape lockdown woes. Their recent online concert showcases two of Broadway's youngest and best talents. Zachary Noah Piser, who is the most recent alternate star of DEAR EVAN HANSEN on Broadway and in Toronto, and his partner Adam Rothenberg, Assistant Conductor of the eagerly awaited Broadway revival of COMPANY, came to town to perform an exciting live concert. Using Starring Buffalo's mantra of including Buffalo's own best talent alongside prodigious High School students, the concert was rounded out by Karen Harty and West Seneca West High School Senior Talia Mobley.
Piser's energetic presence and winning voice made him a great choice to present some Broadway standards alongside some more contemporary pieces. His tenor voice is clear and focused, easily transitioning to a pop head voice when needed. Classics like "On The Street Where You Live" from MY FAIR LADY suited him just fine, and when singing the plaintive "Maria" from WEST SIDE STORY he was able to show his versatile range, taking the optional higher lines written by Bernstein, powerfully singing a forte high B flat.
DEAR EVAN HANSEN fans will be happy to know Piser has the requisite vocal chops as he expertly sang that shows "For Forever." His small stature coupled with his introspective nature gave the online audience a glimpse of his own take on the vulnerable Evan. Purportedly one of his own favorite love songs comes from Adam Guettel's masterpiece THE LIGHT IN THE PIAZZA. Here Piser brought a sweet tender tone to that show's "Love to Me." He also did a gender bending take on the most famous of Green Witches as he sang Elphaba's "The Wizard and I" from WICKED.
Straying from musical theatre allowed Piser to sing "And the World Turned" by the Gabe Dixon Band. And he used his comic chops with "Shiksa Goddess" from Jason Robert Brown's THE LAST FIVE YEARS. Piser sang a very moving "Doesn't Know I'm There" composed by Starring Buffalo's own Artistic Director Drew Fornarola. This engaging song from his musical TIANANMEN felt modern and would have fit easily into the score of DEAR EVAN HANSEN, if truth be told.
Mr Rothenberg accompanied the entire evening with aplomb and happily got a few moments of his own to shine. He has essentially introduced the audience to an unknown African American composer Florence Price. Her FANTASIE NEGRE No.4 for piano written in 1929 was fascinating in it's jazzy undertones melded with classical influences that easily could have been written by George Gershwin. Rothenberg also arranged a haunting medley of Moon River and Clair de Lune for piano and voice that allowed both he and Piser to shine.
Buffalo's own Karen Harty started the program well with Sondheim's tricky "Steps of the Palace" from INTO THE WOODS but her rendition of "What Baking Can Do" from the musical WAITRESS really was her highlight. Ms. Harty has a liquid voice, not unlike the song's composer Sara Bareilles, easily shifting vocal registers deftly. Young Talia Mobley dug her heels into Stephen Schwartz's "The Spark of Creation" from CHILDREN OF EDEN. Mobley is developing a good sense of story telling while packing a punch with some powerful belting.

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Road Less Traveled Productions will welcome back its third annual, Screen to Stage fundraiser, featuring a staged reading of Major League written by David Ward on Saturday, April 1 at 8:00pm.  

From This Author - Michael Rabice

Michael Rabice has over  40 years of experience attending plays, musicals and opera all over the world. He is a frequent performer in opera and has appeared with the Glimmerglass Opera, A... (read more about this author)

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