by Monica Charline Brown
Why yes, of course, I returned for the BROADWAY SINGS Whitney Houston Encore Concert. How could I not? The initial eleventh concert in the series knocked me off my feet (literally…my tardiness afforded me standing room only which led to becoming so claustrophobic/overwhelmed by what was happening onstage I had to squat a few times)! Learning my lesson, I nabbed an early spot in the line wrapping outside the Highline Ballroom. This earned me the opportunity of plopping down in a plushy booth on the upper level of the venue, clad with a “Jazz-mopolitan” drink in hand, prepped and primed to bask in the glory the belting gods would bestow upon us musical theatre lovers Sunday evening May 15.
I was overjoyed to see so many familiar faces from the original concert. Saycon Sengbloh, Nicholas Christopher, Carly Hughes, Corey Mach, Christine Dwyer, Nick Rashad Burroughs, Marcus Paul James, Aisha Jackson, and Mykal Kilgore all chose to reprise their outstanding numbers. The first new performer was a back-up singer for the rest of the concert, Alexa Green. Thankfully, she nabbed a chance in the spotlight, singing “I Wanna Dance With Somebody,” in addition to sprinkling in some delightful whistle tones of her sultry sound. Next, Stephanie Torns, currently appearing in Waitress, jazzily and spunkily took on a lush “I’m Every Woman,” while the charismatic Matt Deangelis brought a “Link Larkin from Hairspray” vibe to “Run to You.” “So Emotional” was done so much justice by the soulful Charity Angél Dawson, also of Waitress. Joining the returning Christine Dwyer on the stunning duet arrangement of “When You Believe” was the powerful Onyie Nwachaku. Afterward, Katie Rose Dideriksen delivered an exquisite interpretation of “I Believe in You and Me,” and Katie Boeck, of the recent Spring Awakening revival, gave “Where Do Broken Hearts Go” a singer-songwriter vibe, complete with her adept guitar playing and folksy vocals. Finally, Natalie Weiss lent her dexterous instrument to evoke a brilliant rendition of “I Will Always Love You.”
Clearly, the decision to have an encore performance was the right one, and I am sure the BROADWAY SINGS following of fans was immensely grateful. Be sure to catch their upcoming “Best of BROADWAY SINGS” concert on June 6!