Scott Siegel’s Broadway By The Year Series is celebrating its 20th Anniversary. The 2020 Season will highlight songs of the last 20 years of Broadway from 2000 to the present
by Linda Amiel Burns
Broadway By The Year, the renowned series created, written, directed and hosted by Scott Siegel, began it’s 20th Anniversary Season on Monday, February 24, 2020 at The Town Hall with a spectacular evening featuring eight exceptional Broadway singers, along with ten performers of the BBTY Chorus (all alums of the “Rising Star” Series,) and twenty six dancers in the BBTY Dance Troupe led by uber- talented choreographer and performer, Danny Gardner. The 20+ songs performed came from nine revivals and twelve original musicals that covered the 2000-2004 Broadway season. What an amazing and fun opening night!
The singers in this extraordinary cast were: Tovah Feldshuh, Lianne Marie Dobbs, Max Von Essen, Nicole Henry, Danny Gardner, Ben Jones, Jenny Lee Stern, and Brian Charles Rooney who were accompanied by Ross Patterson, the Music Director since the beginning, with his “Little Big Band” on bass Don Falzone, and on drums Eric Halvorson.
After being welcomed by host Scott Siegel, the show opened with a terrific and lively number as Danny Gardner led the BBTY Dance Troupe singing and dancing to the title song from 42nd Street. Max Von Essen made his Broadway debut in Dance of the Vampires in 2003 and sang “For Sarah” a lovely song from that show that he hasn’t performed in 17 years, along with a beautifully sung rendition of “Oh, What a Beautiful Morning” from Oklahoma. From Thoroughly Modern Millie, he performed a well-acted “What Do I Need With Love?”
Stunning singer Nicole Henry gave a jazzy twist to “After You’ve Gone” (One Mo’Time) and made the classic “Falling in Love With Love” (Boys From Syracuse) her own. Ben Jones is new to BBTY, but has appeared as a soloist in principal roles around the globe. He shone in “You Walk with Me” (The Full Monty), performed superbly in Sondheim’s “The God Why Don’t You Love Me Blues” from Follies and blew the roof off Town Hall singing the passionate “Gethsemane” from Jesus Christ Superstar. “
Jenny Lee Stern, wonderful in the latest version of Gerard Alessandrini’s Forbidden Broadway, displayed her considerable talents in “Somewhere That’s Green (Little Shop of Horrors), and “I’m Going Back” from Bells Are Ringing (1956), the role originated by Judy Holiday. Lianne Marie Dobbs sang “The Next Best Thing To Love” from A Class Act along with a brilliantly sung “The Winner Takes It All” from Mama Mia. I am impressed every time I see Brian Charles Rooney perform and this time was no exception. In full make-up and sparkle, he sang “I Am What I Am” from La Cage aux Folles and then “Sweet Transvestite” as playfully as possible from The Rocky Horror Show. In a different style altogether he gave us the serious and touching “Once Before I Go” from The Boy From Oz. If this treasure trove of treats was not enough, the gifted Tovah Feldshuh found her inner Ethel Merman belting out “Some People” from Gypsy.
The Production Numbers were exceptional and added a lot to this joyful evening of song. Danny sang “I’ve Loved These Days” from Movin’ Out as Yurilo Miyake and Michael Santomassimo did a lovely dance. The first act closed with a throbbing “Run, Freedom, Run! from Urinetown with Danny and all ten members of the BBTY Chorus, plus four of his dancers. Then the whole group of these talented young singers of the chorus performed the lament “I Wish I Could Go Back to College” from Avenue Q. Mel Brooks turned his terrific 1968 film The Producers into a major Broadway hit in 2001 and Danny Gardner sang “I Wanna Be a Producer” as the fabulous BBTY Dance Troupe surrounded him, and eventually the whole cast was on stage in a spirited and exciting ending to one of the most special evenings of this long lasting and now iconic series.
Congrats to Scott and his team who continue to surprise us by coming up with new ideas to keep his concept alive and also delight his audiences who sell out The Town Hall for BBTY concerts.
Photos: Maryann Lopinto
For More Information Contact: SiegelEntertainment@msn.com
March 30 2005-2009
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