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Ben Cameron’s Broadway Sessions Beach Party Opener Features Andrew Keenan-Bolger
by Bruce-Michael Gelbert      |   follow us...

   
photo by Bruce-Michael Gelbert
Andrew Keenan-Bolger & Ben Cameron
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Ben Cameron’s Broadway Sessions Beach Party returned to the Ice Palace for the season on Memorial Day and opening night featured Broadway’s wonderful young Andrew Keenan-Bolger (“Newsies,” “Tuck Everlasting,” “Mary Poppins”). Kyle Branzell was the pianist and DJ Chuck McTague was responsible for lights and sound.
Ben opened by singing a five minute abridgment of “Newsies” and Andrew joined him for the climax of “Santa Fe.” Host Ben then invited Ryan and another Ben to go-go dance to another song from “Newsies.” Kyle then sang, from the piano, about favorite things food and sex (“I’m a Growing Boy”) and Ben had us all join voices for “Tomorrow,” from “Annie,” to cheer ourselves up about the unseasonable weather.
Andrew wistfully sang “Eduardo (he had so many vowels in his name),” about a youthful unrequited love. Then Kyle played a single chord, from which Andrew recognized the song “Giants in the Sky,” from “Into the Woods,” and sang it, as Ben directed, in various vocal styles.
Ben pulled three men from the audience, one of them Mike Cruz, each to sing one of Elfaba’s big songs, “The Wizard and I,” “Defying Gravity,” and “No Good Deed,” from “Wicked.” Then Andrew returned to sing Miley Cyrus’ “Party in the U.S.A” enthusiastically. And Ben asked for a volunteer from the audience to sing “Memory,” from “Cats,” which John sang. A Broadway theater quiz, about the current season, followed.
This writer sang “Unchained Melody” and Brett Sturgis, from the cast of “On Your Feet!,” sang John Legend’s “So High.” We were all asked to listen to and compare and contrast Patti Lupone and Bernadette Peters’ performances of “Being Alive,” from “Company.” Sarah gave us a musical autobiography, using songs from “Cinderella,” “Les Miz,” “Hamilton,” and “Wicked” and Norah sang “Can’t Help Lovin’ that Man of Mine,” from “Show Boat.” Ryan returned for “New York State of Mind,” Trevor sang “Someone to Watch over Me,” and Tommy Lee Crutcher offered a uniquely syncopated “Defying Gravity.”
Andrew came back to move us with Crutchy’s “Letter from the Refuge” from the filmed version of “Newsies” and, to round out the evening, we all sang “Seasons of Love” from “Rent.”
Look for Broadway Sessions Beach Party on Mondays at 9 p.m. at the Ice Palace.

 

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