Review: BROADWAY IN THE PARK at Wolf Trap

This escapist concert is something we will always need.

By: Jun. 28, 2022

Review: BROADWAY IN THE PARK at Wolf Trap

This past weekend Signature Theatre and Wolf Trap teamed up for the second annual edition of Broadway in The Park which like last year featured some of Signature Theatre's best performers, two Broadway headliners and a 25, yes, 25-piece orchestra. The result was a truly lovely evening of showtunes from multiple decades.

The evening started out with Signature Theatre's Resident Musical Director Maestro Jon Kalbfleisch conducting the "Overture" from Stephen Sondheim's Merrily We Roll Along as orchestrated by Jonathan Tunick. This was followed by the ensemble of Signature performers singing "Putting It Together" from Sunday in The Park with George. The group was comprised of Erin Driscoll, Vincent Kempski, Rayshun LaMarr, Kevin McAllister, Donna Migliaccio, Nova Y. Payton, Awa Sal Secka, and Bobby Smith.

As you probably know, Signature Theatre has produced more productions of Sondheim's work than any other regional theatre in the country.

Of the solo performances from the Signature ensemble, there are a few that stood out for me.

The first one being the electrifying Donna Migliaccio's performance of Jule Styne and Stephen Sondheim's "Some People" from Gypsy. It was her only solo of the night and she made it look so easy. All hail Dame Migliaccio!!

Next up would have to be Kevin McAllister's always strong baritone rendition of Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Some Enchanted Evening" from South Pacific. Having recently just finished a killer performance as the Dryer/Bus in Caroline or Change on Broadway, this concert performance gave another reason why my wife's face lights up whenever this man opens his mouth. His voice is that good.

Bobby Smith's performance of Jerry Herman's "Time Heals Everything" from Mack and Mabel was a real class act. I've never heard the song performed by a male singer before and who better than Mr. Smith to deliver such a beautiful performance for one of Herman's best compositions.

Review: BROADWAY IN THE PARK at Wolf Trap
Awa Sal Secka. Photo by Traci Medlock.

Awa Sal Secka's performance of Jule Styne and Bob Merrill's "Cornet Man" from Funny Girl had me thinking that maybe you could save the wretched Broadway revival with a little non-traditional casting. HMMMM!

Marsha Norman and Lucy Simon's "Lily's Eyes" from The Secret Garden as performed by Vincent Kempski and Kevin McAllister was definitely a highlight of the evening and makes a good argument for casting when and if Signature Theatre decides to produce that show.

Review: BROADWAY IN THE PARK at Wolf Trap
Erin Driscoll. Photo by Tracy Medlock.

Lastly, it was like heaven hearing Erin Driscoll perform Frank Loesser's "Somebody Somewhere" from The Most Happy Fella. Her soprano loveliness has been gone from area stages for far too long.

Review: BROADWAY IN THE PARK at Wolf Trap
Kelli O'Hara. Photo by Traci Medlock.

The Broadway headliners were pretty terrific also. Tony Award winner Kelli O'Hara can sing anything she wants and will always sound amazing. For this concert she performed I R and H's "I Have Dreamed" a song she did not sing in The King And I, Sondheim's "What More Do I Need" from Saturday Night, an absolutely stellar performance of Cole Porter's "So in Love" from Kiss Me Kate and with the ensemble Jason Robert Brown's "To Build a Home" from The Bridges of Madison County. Ms. O'Hara's vocals on all were as always first rate and a reminder why she lights up any Broadway or concert stage she steps onto.

Review: BROADWAY IN THE PARK at Wolf Trap
Adrienne Warren. Photo by Traci Medlock.

Virginia native and Tony Award Winner Adrienne Warren basically blew the roof off of Wolf Trap with a taste of her Tony winning performance in Tina: The Tina Turner Musical singing "River Deep Mountain High". Also included in her set was her own take on Mitch Leigh and Joe Darion's "The Impossible Dream" from Man of La Mancha and a duet with Kelli O'Hara from David Yazbeck's The Band's Visit called "Answer Me".

Signature Theatre's Artistic Director Matthew Gardiner once again put together a fantastic evening with something for every generation of theatregoer.

Let's hope Broadway in The Park stays an annual tradition at Wolf Trap because after what we all have and are still going through; this escapist concert is something we will always need.

Running Time: 90 Minutes with no intermission.

Broadway in The Park was a one night only engagement at Wolf Trap on June 24, 2022.




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