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BWW Review: BROADWAY AND BACK Shines Like a New Star at the Quality Hill Playhouse

Broadway and Back, which highlights the word quality in Quality Hill Playhouse, runs through March 29 at the Playhouse in Kansas City, Missouri. Producing Artistic Director J. Kent Barnhart selected the songs and directs the magnificent production. Broadway and Back is a celebration of movies that inspired or were inspired by Broadway Musicals. The production is part of the Playhouses 2014-15 season series, Hooray for Hollywood, Magical Music from the Movies.

The production includes songs from classics such as Thoroughly Modern Millie, My Fair Lady, Sweeney Todd, and The Phantom of the Opera among others. Barnhart on piano, joined by Ashley Pankow, Vigthor Zophoniasson, and Lindsey McKee, open the show with "There's No Business Like Show Business," from Annie, Get Your Gun. Between sets, Barnhart keeps the audience amused with stories about the songs or movies and his sharp wit.

Lindsey McKee returns to the stage of Quality Hill Playhouse where she has performed over two dozen times with Barnhart. Her powerful operatic voice is wonderful as she sings "Summertime" from Porgy and Bess in the first act. In Act II, she joins Barnhart in "True Love" from High Society and the title of the song describes how I felt about the duet. McKee trained at the Guildhall School of Music in London. She has performed Opera with numerous Symphonies and has appeared at The New Theatre, Musical Theater Heritage, and The American Heartland Theatre among others in the Kansas City area.

Ashley Pankow returns to Quality Hill, where she appeared in The Musical of Musicals (The Musical!). Her vocals are fabulous and her acting ability comes to the stage as her facial expressions and body language enhance her already spectacular performance of "Don't Cry For Me Argentina," from Evita. She has appeared with Musical Theater Heritage, The New Theatre, Starlight, and National Tours of The Marvelous Wonderettes, Smoke on the Mountain, and Christmas Carol. She returns to Quality Hill in May for Judy Barbra Liza.

Vigthor Zophoniasson rounds out the highly talented cast. I truly enjoyed his performance of "Bring Him Home," from Les Miserables and when joined by McKee in "A Little Priest," from Sweeney Todd. Little did I know that I would be totally blown away by his solo performance of "Gethsemane" from Jesus Christ Superstar and then again in the second act as he and Pankow perform "All I Ask Of You" from Phantom of the Opera. He has previously appeared at Quality Hill Playhouse in the 2014 production of Great Duets of Musical Theatre.

Barnhart has again selected the perfect songs for each of the performers and has created a production that sits alone on a pedestal. Broadway and Back is a program that any fan of musical theater should not miss. Broadway and Back continues at Quality Hill Playhouse through March 29. Purchase tickets by calling the box office at 816-421-1700 or online at the Quality Hill Playhouse website. Photo courtesy of Quality Hill Playhouse.

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From This Author Steve Wilson