BWW Review: Terron Brooks Sets the Montalban Ablaze With THE SOUL OF BROADWAY
On Sunday November 3, Terron Brooks presented a concert and CD release party for his new album The Soul of Broadway - Impossible Dreams at the Montalban in Hollywood. In my book, the sold out evening proved to be a highlight of the 2019 season. Brooks, known for playing Eddie Kendricks in the Emmy-winning NBC miniseries The Temptations in 1998, has a spectacular singing voice, and as a life coach and inspirational speaker infused the concert with joy and optimism for his audience... which goes far beyond a regular concert event.
Like many entertainers, Brooks rocketed to the top as an actor and singer, but then after the miniseries his career took a downward spiral. Unbelievable, but he did not work. It was meeting his future wife, marrying her and having children that turned his life around. Yes, this has happened for many performers, but it is the way in which Brooks relates the story that makes a difference. Allowing audience members to turn briefly to someone we did not know and talk for just a minute made us realize just how important communication is. We live in a world of cell phones and technology, but one's journey in life can only move forward significantly through human connections. Brooks believes this with a total commitment and passion, which transcends the footlights. He inspires trust and love. As a result, we hang on every syllable he utters...and every note he sings.
The musical evening, directed smoothly by Brian Purcell and with splashy choreography from Leah Seminario, featured the 10 songs from the album plus a few favorites wrapped up in completely new and engaging arrangements. My favorites included: "The Impossible Dream" from Man of La Mancha, "Something's Coming" from West Side Story with a dynamic arrangement that made it sound like an entirely new song, "Circle of Life" from The Lion King - Brooks really cut loose on this, "Tomorrow" from Annie, evoking such promise for everyone's life journey, "Summertime," "Being Alive," and "Bring Him Home" from Les Mis. Most singers belt out this tune. Brooks brought the volume down almost to a whisper, making us really listen to the lyrics. It is the best I have ever heard it sung. "History Has Its Eye On You" from Hamilton really gets us thinking about our responsibility to the world. His encore "What About Love?" from The Color Purple is yet another example of how much gut-wrenching ardor Brooks puts into his delivery.
The terrific musicians who backed Brooks in the 80 minute set were: Mark Vogel, musical director (photo top) at the keyboard, Adam Michaelson at keyboard # 2, Gustin Flaig, drummer, Zach Fenske on guitar, and Simba Scott on bass. Three soul singers Fredericka Mee, Rhett George, and Natalie Wachen rocked the house.
Brooks proved a true fashion plate, as he changed outfits twice. The flashy clothes were all black in color. The first had a sequin jacket and the last was a full tuxedo suit. Not taking it that seriously, Brooks wore white sneakers part of the time.
Praise to director Brian Purcell and Jared Sayeg for great scenic design and to Sayeg for spectacular lighting. Kudos as well to Jeff Stone for the equally fine sound design.
Terron Brooks throws every ounce of his mind, body and soul into his singing. He really moves rythmically and has such finesse in controlling his tremendous vocal range. Go see him whenever and wherever he performs, which I believe will be frequently from this point on. In the meantime, purchase the CD The Soul Of Broadway-Impossible Dreams. It is a must have for your record collection.
For more info on Terron Brooks, go to:
To purchase CD, available Friday November 8, go to:
(photo credit: Josh "CuriousJosh" Reiss)