Jason Alexander famously known for his role as George Costanza in Seinfeld, is also a seasoned, Tony Award-winning (for Jerome Robbins’ Broadway) Broadway performer. Last night with the BSO at Strathmore he showed off his glorious voice.
The first half of the show the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (BSO), conducted by Michael Krajewski, beautifully performed different songs from Jerome Robbins’ Broadway shows. The set lasted 30 minutes. Pops Conductor Conductor Jack Everly sadly fell ill during the week so Krajewski filled in.
The first set filled the theatre with swirling emotions of highs and lows with beautiful music. The first set was music from Gypsy, and Peter Pan. I loved the violins in Peter Pan, as you could feel Peter Pan flying along with them. Next the BSO performed “March of the Siamese Children” from The King and I with the cool timpani, drums, and trumpet taking the lead. Songs from Bells are Ringing, which Krajewski explained was first a musical then it was made into a film starring Judy Holiday and Dean Martin. Finally the orchestra performed Leonard Bernstein’s overture to West Side Story which Robbins adapted from Romeo and Juliet. When the BSO played “Tonight” I got chills. The energetic and enthusiastic conductor was a joy to watch.
Krajewski is also quite the ham! He humorously engaged the crowd. When he introduced himself to the audience he said, “I believe I pronounced my last name correctly.” The crowd laughed appreciatively. Krajewski also mentioned that all the pianos in the lobby are for everyone to pick one to take home!
Jason Alexander was featured in the second half of the program, accompanied by pianist Keith Harrison, and gorgeous vocals by Kate Fisher. After Krajewski’s funny introduction of Alexander as “super humble,” Alexander launched into a hilarious song about how lucky someone was to meet him. At the end of the song Alexander said, “I hope you enjoyed the most obnoxious song I ever wrote!” Alexander wore a black suit with a purple, tailored men’s shirt.He looked great!
Alexander mixed in humorous monologues, dancing, interacting with the crowd and singing for a fun-filled evening. Alexander doesn’t take himself too seriously, and kidded about his small stature and bald head. He dropped out of college because he landed his first Broadway show. He recalled how his first Broadway show, Stephen Sondheim’s Merrily We Roll Along, BOMBED and lasted two weeks.
“How great to be in Rockville! I know you were expecting Mandy Pantinkin. I love to sing musical theatre because I have a 15 year older sister who listened to the musicals.” When Alexander saw The Music Man and Pippin he knew he wanted to work in theatre.
Alexander then launched into songs from Billy Joel’s Movin’ Out. The piano playing by Harrison on this piece was phenomenal. Harrison’s whole persona imbues the music, with his head and hair shaking along to the music while either mouthing the words or singing along with Alexander. I loved it when Alexander stood on a piano bench while singing. Alexander’s voice was strong and passionate.
Fisher joined Alexander on the next songs from Pippin’. Her voice was crystal clear, strong, and beautiful.
Next Alexander sang songs from Merrily We Roll Along. Alexander explained he starred in The Rink on Broadway with Liza Minnelli, and that she loved being in a production with an unknown ensemble.
Alexander then brought up about seven audience members to re-enact a scene and song from Bells are Ringing. The audience members wore various bells and hats. It was hilarious and the audience members cooperated gamely despite a couple earlier refusing to come on stage.
Alexander’s dad passed away several years ago at 91 and his mom is still vibrant at 95. He is grateful they got to see his success. His dad’s last words to him were, “I’ll See you Later.” Alexander then sang the song “Anytime” dedicated to his dad. One of the lyrics is: “I’ll be around.”
To close out the show Alexander joked that after his TV fame he went back to Broadway as he was sure he could get any role he wanted. He shared he was sadly turned down by many roles, so he was going to sing them for us now in what he called the “Inappropriate medley” and asked the audience to tell him if he was right or wrong for the these roles. Alexander then hilariously sang the songs, with accompanying props, from Jesus Christ Superstar, The Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables, Evita, Annie, Cats, and Man of La Mancha.
Running Time: Two hours and 30 minutes, including one intermission.
An Evening with Jason Alexander played for one night only on January 22, 2014, at The Music Center at The Strathmore – 5301 Tuckerman Lane, in North Bethesda, MD. For future performances, check their calendar of events. He performs Friday and Saturday night at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall- 1212 Cathedral Street, in Baltimore, MD. Purchase tickets here.