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Review #2: Baltimore Symphony Orchestra: ‘Broadway Divas’

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Maybe you could not dance all night, but on Thursday, March 31, 2016, when the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra performed Broadway Divas at the Music Center at Strathmore, I could not stop tapping my feet to the familiar music from the Great White Way with Conductor Jack Everly.

 

Four very contemporary and talented divas, Christina Bianco, Mandy Gonzalez, N’Kenge, and Kristen Plumley hit all the high notes as they belted out songs from America’s favorite musicals. The ladies took us from old-time favorites like, “Summertime” from Porgy and Bess to “Let It Go” from Frozen (soon to be a Broadway musical).

Ms. Bianco lightened the evening with a parody from Annie as well as some wonderful impersonations from her one woman show of several very famous Broadway divas, for example, Streisand, Garland, and Chenoweth. And she also beautifully crooned “Neverland” from Peter Pan as herself.

N’Kenge was just perfect in her soulful renditions of “Summertime” and “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” from Dreamgirls.

Ms. Gonzalez performed “Defying Gravity” from Wicked, where she played Elphaba, and moved me as she sang “I Dreamed a Dream” from Les Misérables.

Ms. Plumley’s operatic soprano was a perfect mesh with “Love is Where You Find it” from The Kissing Bandit and “I Have a Love” from West Side Story.

The four divas teamed up several times including before the intermission with the Show Boat classic torch song, “Can’t Help Loving That Man” and then ended the concert with “Let It Go.” Their voices blended wonderfully and obviously these are ladies who could have performed any of the roles in these Broadway classics.

The BSO and Everly were sensational, especially when you realize many of these songs were originally performed by much smaller Broadway orchestras. Sometimes, they solved the problem by using movie orchestrations, but a great deal of credit has to go to Maestro Everly. Of course the wonderful acoustics at Strathmore added to the pleasure of the concert.

Almost as spectacular as the music were the sensational gowns the four women wore were also spectacular (They had a new one for every song.) It was like watching the Red Carpet, waiting expectantly for each new outfit to appear.

The BSO will be performing Broadway Divas all weekend at the Joseph Meyer Symphony Hall in Baltimore, MD. It would be Wicked if you missed the chance to see this concert.

Running Time: Two hours, with a 20-minute intermission.

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Broadway Divas  plays through Sunday, April 3, 2016, at the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra performing at Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall – 1212 Cathedral Street, in Baltimore, MD. For tickets, call the box office at (410) 783-8000, or purchase them online.

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