By Sandi Durell
Video: Magda Katz
Photos: Maryann Lopinto
The two Broadway and television sensations, Megan Hilty and Matthew Morrison, met up on the stage of Forest Hills Stadium on Thursday night July 7 to the incredible sounds of the 78 piece New York Pops Orchestra helmed by the always delightful Steven Reineke, Musical Director and Conductor – A combustible trio that sparked an evening of great music and laughs.
Luckily the rain stayed away and the greater heat was more evident coming from triple threat Matthew Morrison (Tony, Emmy and Golden Globe Award winner, last seen starring on Broadway in “Finding Neverland”) as he plied his versatility to songs such as “The Lady is a Tramp,” “Luck Be A Lady,” and crowd pleaser “Singin’ in the Rain” ( with umbrella), outdoing himself with a memorable medley from “Hairspray.” And he’s got all the dance moves that enhanced each. It was like watching mini-production numbers from Broadway shows. Why he even conducted the Pops at one point, not to mentioned bringing along his favorite uke! High energy, big talent!
Matthew off-handedly announced that he just got back from Africa but nothing more. I wondered what he was doing there. I had the opportunity to ask him post show. Seems that when he and Renee Puente married in October 2014, they never had a chance to take a honeymoon. Got my answer!
Not to be outdone, the gorgeous and ultra-charming Megan Hilty (Tony, Drama Desk, Drama League Awards) not only gave a fashion show of stunning strapless gowns (red, blue and gold beads & sequins), in which she looked incredibly sexy, but her vocal prowess and performance, as always, proved to be an overwhelming pleasure to the ear (what a pair of lungs!).
Smash hit “They Just Keep Moving the Line” was a big winner (as always) and “Popular” (from Wicked) a charmer of zesty proportions. The pairing of “Autumn Leaves/When October Goes” (Johnny Mercer lyrics), resonated great emotional impact, with arrangement by Steven Reineke. She wowed with “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” offering up chorus after chorus resulting in a standing ovation.
Together, Megan and Matthew dueted on a very contemporary pop version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” the evening coming to a close with a well received encore of “Suddenly Seymour” (Little Shop of Horrors).
More information: www.neworkpops.org
*AT&T’s sponsorship of the concert provided free tickets to 1,000 low-income Queens schoolchildren, as part of the New York Pops’ Kids in the Stadium program. Morgan Stanley was the other generous concert sponsor.
Photos: Maryann Lopinto
Video by Magda Katz