'Lullaby of Broadway' Performance Wows Elk Grove Audience

The final bow and curtain call from the Elk Grove performance of Broadway show tunes at 'Lullaby of Broadway." |
By Dan Gougherty | March 10, 2018 |

Before a capacity audience at the Sun Grove Church, a talented group of Sacramento artists performed a variety of crowd-pleasing show tunes in their production called Lullaby of Broadway.

Tonight's performance, which was organized by the Elk Grove Commission of the Art, saw nine singers backed by a six-piece orchestra perform popular Broadway songs from such noted composers as Andrew Lloyd Webber to Rogers and Hammerstein. Additionally, popular rock n' roll songs featured in stage productions were included in the repertoire. 

The show was hosted by Peter Petty who engaged the audience through the performance and opened the show by noting that the most current popular show on Broadway, Hamilton, would not be performed. Petty joked the producers of that show were "not ready to release the rights."

After warming the audience, Petty kicked off the first of 18 scheduled and one additional song with Lullaby of Broadway from the musical 42nd Street. In the first act of the show, there were ten songs, including two from Andrew Lloyd Webber. 

The duet of Leslie Sandefur and Thomas Truhitte performed All I Ask of Your from the perennial favorite stage production of the Phantom of the Opera. Although Truhitte did not don a mask as the Phantom, he and Sandefur as Christine performed the popular love song with theatrics with Sandefur hitting the high notes with ease and clarity.

The other performance from Sir Webber was from his breakout play, Jesus Christ Superstar. Perhaps in honor of the Lenten season, Petty performed Gethsemane with all the angst and primal screams one would expect.

The first act also saw two powerful performances of one show standard and another less known song from a French musical. Performing The Impossible Dream from the Man of La Macha was Martin Beal, and Autumn Leaves from Les Feuilles Mortes by Beth Duncan.

With the right degree of stage presence and gravitas, Beal gave an exceptional rendition of this standard. Beal's voice was rich, and his audience engagement could be felt.

Duncan's performance, for this reviewer, was perhaps the nightlight of the night. I would be remiss if I did not say I was not familiar with this song, so maybe the fact this degree of newness skewed my judgment.

Nonetheless, Duncan's interpretation put me in a smoke-filled jazz club of days of old where a torchy jazz singer had an audience in her hands. Even though it was a show song, it seemed like she injected some scatt singing into the performance. 

The other duet performed this evening included Duncan and blues singer Gary Mendoza. This duet, who were probably the senior members of the evening's troupe performed Taking a Chance on Love from Cabin in the Sky. Along with their chemistry and ease in performing, the song featured an enjoyable clarinet solo.

Backing the singers was Petty's six-piece orchestra. Although steady throughout the evening, the band provided the perfect music in the difficult to perform All That Jazz from Chicago delivered with gusto by Samee Nann. 

The other noteworthy musical performance came during their rendition of Great Balls of Fire. Singing the song and performing the piano like he had channeled Jerry Lee Lewis was Todd Morgan.

While there were many possible showstopping moments, perhaps the most engaging came near the end of the show when Melanie Owens performed I'm Here from the stage production of The Color Purple. Owens' performance was heartfelt and garnered one of two of the loudest ovations of the individual performances for the evening. 

The show was produced in an association between the Elk Grove's Art Commission and The Art Advocacy Project. More information about the project and other events planned for this month by TAAP can be viewed here.  

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D.J. Blutarsky said...

EGN forgot about the most important event of the night! Our esteemed Mayor Ly took the stage to make his obligatory welcoming speech reading from a multiple page script, and then (drum roll please) channeled Houdini and performed the great disappearing act!

To Councilman Detrick's credit, he stayed for the entire show and mingled with the appreciative crowd. But unlike Detrick, our esteemed Mayor seemingly vanished without a trace before the first act was over. Rumor had it, he needed to go sign some urgent purchase orders for the chlorine needed to get the olympic competition pool ready for its grand opening!

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