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BWW Reviews: The Engeman's Ongoing Broadway Concert Series

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The ongoing Broadway Concert Series at the gorgeous John W. Engeman Theatre of Northport always makes for a wonderful evening. During their dark week between shows, producer and host Stephen DeAngelis gathers the best of Broadway for an evening of songs and stories about their careers. The incredible cast for this edition of the concert series was Phillip Boykin, Gregg Edelman, Leigh Ann Larkin, Euan Morton, and Sarah Stiles and the sold out show was very well received.

To officially kick off the show, Mr. DeAngelis challenges Musical Director/Accompanist Eugene Gwozdz with a random overture to perform without Mr. Gwozdz knowing what show it is from. This time, however, Mr. DeAngelis decided to have a little fun. Before handing Mr. Gwozdz the overture, Mr. DeAngelis blacked-out the title of the show that it was for. Naturally, Mr. Gwozdz performed the Phantom of the Opera overture wonderfully and the audience was thrilled with Mr. DeAngelis' choice. An added atmospheric touch during the overture performance was that the only light were the two little lamps on either side of the piano and a purple, draped styled curtain was hung - presumably to protect the set for their upcoming show, Irving Berlin's White Christmas.

To kick off the performances, Scotland native Euan Morton (Sondheim on Sondheim, Cyrano DeBergerac, Taboo) selected a number from his Tony nominated performance in Taboo entitled "Stranger in This World". He then performed a wonderful rendition of the standard "Who Can I Turn To?" that's been performed by the likes of Anthony Newley. For Euan's third selection, he chose "A Song for You" by The Carpenters. And for his final performance he selected the beautiful ballad "Hallelujah".

Next up was the adorable Sarah Stiles (On A Clear Day You Can See Forever, Avenue Q, 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee) who not only chatted about her stage career, but also her extensive voice-over work. For her first selection Sarah performed "I Know Things Now" from her summer stint in Shakespeare In The Park's Into The Woods - not to mention telling about the crazy audition and rehearsal process for this show. Then she selected to perform "Fine, Fine Line" from her time in Avenue Q. For her third performance, she chose a song entitled "It's Only a First Date" from a new musical she's been reading for. And to close out her performance, Sarah's final selection was a stunning rendition of the Carole King standard "You've Got a Friend".

Tony nominee Phillip Boykin - from The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess - took the stage next kicking off his performances with a feisty "I Got Plenty O' Nuttin'" from that show. Then for his second selection, he did a wonderful rendition of "The Impossible Dream" from Man Of La Mancha. For his third selection, he chose "Honeysuckle Rose" from Ain't Misbehavin'. And to finish his performances, and indeed one of the most popular of the evening, was his brilliant rendering of "Ol' Man River" from Show Boat.

Leigh Ann Larkin (A Little Night Music, Gypsy) was next up starting her performances with a beautiful "The Miller's Son" from A Little Night Music. For her second number, even though she's had no affiliation with the show, she chose "Unusual Way" from Nine. Leigh Ann's third selection was an adorable rendition of "I Enjoy Being a Girl" from Rodgers and Hammerstein's Flower Drum Song. And to end her performances, she chose "Broadway Baby" from Follies.

Tony nominee Gregg Edelman closed the show kicking off his performances with "Everybody Says Don't" from Stephen Sondheim's Anyone Can Whistle. His next selection was "Double Talk" from City Of Angels - his first Tony nod. For his third selection, Mr. Edelman chose the very quirky "Rhode Island is Famous For You" from Inside U.S.A. - a musical revue by Arthur Schwartz and Howard Dietz. Mr. Edelman then selected the iconic "Send in the Clowns" from Little Night Music splendidly closing the night.

Truly, it cannot be emphasized enough how fun the Engeman's Broadway Concert Series is. It is only a few times a year, so they make each one special. The cast even greets everyone in the lobby after the show and will sign/sell their CD's. If you can make it to at least one, you will not be disappointed.


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