BWW Interview: William Stephan Discusses the Upcoming Special Showcase BROADWAY AT THE LIED
Every other year the Lied Center for Performing Arts in Lincoln, Nebraska hosts a special event for all Broadway fans. BROADWAY AT THE LIED will be held this year on Wednesday, September 11. This free show will showcase the best of Broadway performed by some of Nebraska's top talent accompanied by a professional musical ensemble. I spoke with Bill Stephan, Executive Director for the Lied to get some insider background on the concert.
Can you tell me more about Broadway at the Lied?
Alisa Belflower (Coordinator of Music Theater Studies at the Hixon-Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts) is producing and directing the show. The cast includes award-winning alumni from the Hixon-Lied College as well as some of the top students. She also mentioned that some equity actors who have a long term relationship with the university will be coming back for this program.
It's a showcase of their work and their story. They're actually part of the show. Scott Frankel will be sharing his story of how he started out as a college student at Yale and ended up being a Broadway composer. He'll talk about his path and what its challenges or surprises were, his most magnificent moments, and maybe a little bit of backstage talk about Patti LaPone and what it was like having her star in WAR PAINT, and working with Christina Ebersole, as well. He'll talk about how he and Michael Korie got together and started collaborating on creating music. Michael Korie will share his story as well.
Every year it surprises me because it's a little overwhelming. It's a good show, so unique and distinctive. The stories of these composers are just so inspiring. We had Stephen Bray, the composer of THE COLOR PURPLE, two years ago. He shared his background and his success story winning a Grammy and a Tony. He was really interesting because he wrote a lot of Madonna's hit songs. There are all these surprises, you know...these people who are making it on Broadway have such colorful histories. You hear about all the people they've encountered on their path. Early in his history Scott Frankel played piano for major stars such as Shirley MacLaine. (Mr. Frankel accompanied Shirley MacLaine and Meryl Streep in the film "Postcards From the Edge.") I think this will be a really wonderful, insightful, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience the story of these wonderful Broadway creators.
What can we expect to hear in the showcase?
The content of the show is works from these two composers and two of their most recent shows on Broadway: WAR PAINT and GREY GARDENS. GREY GARDENS was produced here in Lincoln by Omni Arts recently, so people who saw it or were in it will find it fun to experience some of that music. It is also going to preview some of the music from the Lied Center's Broadway season. We are going to have "Think of Me" from PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, which is coming in October for the first time. There's "What Baking Can Do" from WAITRESS. And there's "I Feel the Earth Move" from BEAUTIFUL. So there will be some familiar Broadway hit songs along with some we haven't heard before.
You'll get to hear some songs that didn't make it... songs that got cut from the musicals. Just this year we celebrated THE PROM being on Broadway. "Dance With Me" was sung for a public audience for the very first time at Broadway at the Lied. That was our first year with Matthew Sklar. It's fun to go back and listen to the recording of that performance. It wouldn't surprise me if we get a little of that with what they're working on now. It's inspiring to see the talent that we have in Nebraska. What a great opportunity for them to work with these Broadway professionals! If they impress these folks, there's no better connection.
Jason Michael Webb was part of THE COLOR PURPLE at Broadway at the Lied. We had such good time with him that he came back and was our director of our Broadway Triple Threat camp for junior high students. He went from Lincoln to getting his first Tony Award for his work on CHOIR BOY. So, that was super fun.
This is all tied in with this workshop that we do (Grow a Show: ASCAP New Musical Theatre Workshop) and Broadway at the Lied. You never know what's going to come from it.
I hear it's a free show, so do you need to get tickets or just show up?
They are free, but we do encourage everybody to reserve a ticket. We can mail those out. They can call or reserve online. You can just show up at the door, and most likely we will have tickets available. It's general admission seating. But we recommend that people reserve a ticket. We distributed over 2,000 tickets for past years.
Tickets for both the Grow a Show Musical Theatre Workshop staged reading of REBEL GENIUS on SEP 10 and MODERN on SEP 12, and the Broadway at the Lied concert on SEP 11 are available at: