Members of the audience present during Saturday’s Marsh Symphony on the Prairie concert received an unexpected gift. Just as vocalist Christina Bianco began to sing a mash up of “Never Land” from “Peter Pan,” and “Defying Gravity” from “Wicked,” a hot air balloon flew overhead. It was an unexpected, yet magical moment — just one of many that occurred during an evening of musical splendor dispensed by the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra led by Principal Pops Conductor Jack Everly, fresh off his July 4th “A Capital Fourth” triumph in Washington, D.C.
Besides soprano Bianco, other guest artists who performed a program of popular show tunes from the Great White Way were baritone Ben Crawford, tenor Ted Keegan, and tenor Jerry Hacker. Bianco, Crawford and Keegan all have Broadway credits. Hacker, who is locally based, has performed for the past 23 years with the ISO in Duke Energy “Yuletide Celebration.” Also participating in the concert were members of the Indianapolis Men’s Chorus, led by artistic director Greg Sanders.
The ISO opened with a medley that included “There Ain’t Nothin’ Like a Dame,” “Mame,” “People,” “Don’t Rain on My Parade” and “Hello Dolly.” The ensemble serenaded a crowd of 5,000-plus attendees, of all ages, assembled in the amphitheater adjacent to Noblesville’s Conner Prairie, as they enjoyed picnics, people watching and the mild weather that blessed the event.
Act 1 highlights included “Love Duets,” in which the vocalists sang a medley of songs that included “They Say It’s Wonderful,” “People Will Say We’re in Love,” “Someone to Watch Over Me” and others—during the aforementioned segment, Bianco sang while the phantom hot air balloon floated off into the western sky. The superb voices of Crawford, Keegan and Hacker were showcased in “Leading Men Medley,” during which they exhibited their talents with such songs as “Guys and Dolls,” “Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin’,” “Some Enchanted Evening,” “Come Back to Me,” and “The Impossible Dream.”
After the ISO played the overture from Leonard Bernstein’s “West Side Story” at the beginning of Act 2, Bianco, called “a comic firecracker with a pyrotechnic voice…” by TimeOut New York Magazine, showed off her skills as an impressionist. Mimicking, among others, Adele in “Rolling in the Deep,” Streisand in “People,” Julie Andrews in “The Sound of Music,” Celine Dion, in “My Heart Will Go On” and Judy Garland singing “Trolley Song,” Bianco captured the musical essence of each.
Later, Keegan, who played the Phantom in the “The Phantom of the Opera,” on Broadway and in 24 states during the national tour, was striking during “Music of the Night” from the Andrew Lloyd Weber hit musical.
At the exhilarating conclusion of the concert the combined ISO, guest vocalists and Indianapolis Men’s Chorus received a standing ovation for their spectacular performance of a stirring medley of songs from Boubil & Schönberg’s “Les Misérables.”
For tickets and information about the remainder of the Indianapolis Symphony orchestra 2012 Symphony on the Marsh Symphony on the Prairie season, call (317) 639-4300 or visit www.indianapolissymphony.org.
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