By Monica Charline Brown
Created seven years ago, the Broadway Sings series has been rocking out at the Highline Ballroom for fifteen concerts! Produced by Corey Mach, the shows are always top notch. What makes the performances unique are the musical arrangements by Joshua Stephen Kartes, masterfully crafted to fit each singer’s stylistic strengths. With past tributes to Adele, Stevie Wonder, Justin Timberlake and Beyoncé, Lady Gaga proved to be a natural fit for this set of Broadway’s brightest stars.
Lesli Margherita (Matilda the Musical) kicked the concert off with a rendition of “Born this Way” that was totally hers. Matt DeAngelis (Waitress) gave off some Jason Mraz/Bruno Mars vibes, accompanying himself on guitar to Gaga’s recent hit, “Million Reasons.” Liz Larsen (Beautiful) brought some doo-wop/big band funk to lesser-known Gaga tune, “Come to Mama.” Jeremy Pope (The View Upstairs) made “Paparazzi” a sultry ballad in the mood of artist Drake.
During a technical delay, Jackie Burns (If/Then) hammed it up, but transitioned to diva mode as soon as the music began, killing “Gypsy,” a belty number off Gaga’s album ArtPop. A.J. Shively (Bright Star) channeled Michael Buble for a swoon-worthy twist on “Marry the Night.” Kathryn Gallagher (Spring Awakening) was a total rockstar on the classic “You and I.” Corey Mach (Hands on a Hardbody) sang power ballad “Speechless” with his smooth and velvety tone.
Haley Podschun (Hello Dolly!) slowed down “Poker Face” to a vampy, playful tempo. Claybourne Elder (Sunday in the Park with George) mashed up Gaga’s early “Alejandro” with her more recent “John Wayne” splendidly. Julia Mattison (Godspell) offered vulnerability for a moving “Joanne.” Lilli Cooper (Spring Awakening) gave “A-Yo” all the sass the song demands and more. Nick Adams (Priscilla, Queen of the Desert) took on dance hit “Telephone” with great energy, complete with piano playing chords to act as the iPhone ringtone.
Shayna Steele (Rent) literally brought the audience to their feet with showstopper “Edge of Glory.” Nathan Lee Graham (The Wild Party) was perfectly dramatic and over the top with the finale, “Bad Romance.”
Big kudos to the luscious fourteen-piece orchestra, and shout outs to flawless back-up singers Bryna O’Neill, Melissa Modifier, and Addi McDaniel. The evening was just as iconic and legendary as Lady Gaga herself! I’m looking forward to the announcement of which artist Broadway Sings will sing the praises of next.
Photo Credit: Chris Burch