Although my friend and I might have been two of the five youngest people in the theater, we thoroughly enjoyed Neil Berg's 100 years of Broadway. We found ourselves cheering out loud for the performers and leaping to our feet for the standing ovation. It was a non-stop showcase of some of the most talented people alive, and I wanted all my friends to be there with me.
The performances were impeccable. The vocalists were all Broadway stars from notable shows, and Broadway legend Peter Palmer, known for several roles including that of Lil' Abner, showed up to do a surprise performance, leading the audience to sing along with him. It was magical to see a star in his eightieth year lead a theater full of people in song.
Each of the performers shared a story or memory and gave performances in front of the three piece band. Producer Neil Berg emceed the show as well as accompanied the vocalists. Berg played the piano with such passion and vigor that I found myself uplifted just watching him. His host demeanor was playful and full of class: perfect for the classy and delightful vibe of the entire show. It felt like being at a private party with an amazing group of beautiful and sparkling people as they took a stroll down memory lane together.
The performer's outfits were stunning. Everyone looked superb and the lighting was a soothing array of intense colors that created a simple background that really made the performers stand out.
It was very touching when Carter Calvert dedicated her performance to her grandmother who supported her in her dreams by sending her encouraging letters and monies until she got the lead role in CATS. She performed what she called the "only song you care about" from CATS: Memories. She also did an absolutely sizzling rendition of the song Fever in addition to others.
My favorite performer was Ted Louis Levy, His tap dancing, his singing, his jokes, and his over all demeanor came off as so polished and playful. It was fun to watch his banter with Roger Cohen on percussion, and his version of Favorite Things. It's not really fair to choose a favorite, though. All of the performers were breath taking.
The performers brought up how important it is to draw more young people to enjoy live theatre, and they're right. This is the kind of show that reminds audience members why live shows are so much more fulfilling than television or movies. The raw power of the performers, feeling them project themselves into the room, filling you with awe is worth every penny and more spent on the tickets. This is not auto-tuned garbage that anyone can do. This is talent, and it's up close and personal. Another reason it's better than television: the stars come out to the lobby to meet and greet afterwards and sign CD'S.
Photo above: Peter Palmer does surprise performance. Photo Below: Neil Berg takes a minute to pose with me.