'Broadway Rocks': Soloists,
Since the 1950's, rock 'n' roll has infiltrated everything that we know. It is so much a part of our lives and our history that now it is often referred to as "classic rock."
As high school rock bands took over their parents' garages, drum sets, electric guitars and keyboard synthesizers also began to greatly influence the music of Broadway shows.
Most theater productions on Broadway now are written to music that has a strong beat and a prominent sense of rhythm. These newer shows feature the type of songs that make us want to dance, or at least tap our toes to the music.
The Allentown Symphony Orchestra gets into the act with "Broadway Rocks," a pops concert of rock 'n' roll influenced Broadway tunes featuring vocalists Christiane Noll, Rob Evans and Capathia Jenkins, all very experienced Broadway singers, 8 p.m. Oct. 11, Miller Symphony Hall, 23 N. Sixth St., Allentown.
Christiane Noll, soprano, made her Broadway debut starring in "Jekyll & Hyde," creating the role of Emma. She has also been a member of the national touring shows of "Grease," "Miss Saigon," "City of Angels" and "South Pacific." When she is not touring, she performs her own solo cabaret show.
Rob Evans, bass, has performed seven leading Broadway roles including being part of the original cast of "Jekyll & Hyde," where he played the title role for three years and participated in more than 1,000 performances worldwide. He has also performed in "Les Miserables," "Tarzan," "Little Shop of Horrors" and "Dance of the Vampires." He has also opened for and performed with Sir Elton John, Phil Collins, REM and many others.
Capathia Jenkins, soprano, most recently starred in the Disney production of "Newsies" on Broadway. Other productions she has sung in include "The Civil War," "Godspell" and "The Look of Love." Jenkins is also well-known on television and has appeared on "30 Rock," "The Practice," "Law and Order: SVU" and "The Sopranos."
Joining the Allentown Symphony Orchestra for this exciting performance will be members of the the Parkland High School Chorale, with director Frank Anonia, and the Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Arts Touring Choir, with director David Macbeth.
For this performance, the Allentown Symphony will be conducted by Associate Conductor, Ronald Demkee, who is also the conductor of the Allentown Band.
The "Broadway Rocks" concert features music from many well-known musicals like "Mamma Mia!," "Jersey Boys," "Jesus Christ Superstar," "Hair," "The Lion King," "The Wiz," "Wicked," "Dream Girls" and "The Phantom of the Opera."
Popular tunes like "I Will Survive," "Come Sail Away," "Circle of Life" and "The Music of the Night" will be enjoyed by all. It is not often that you get to hear this music accompanied by a full symphony orchestra.
Feel free to hum along, tap your toes, wiggle your fingers, bob up and down in your seat, and thoroughly enjoy the sounds of the Allentown Symphony and their guest Broadway stars. We all grew up with this music. It will be so much fun to hear it live in a concert with the ASO.
Diane Wittry is Music Director-Conductor of the Allentown Symphony Orchestra, Artistic Director (USA), International Cultural Exchange Program for Classical Musicians, Sarajevo Philharmonic, Bosnia; and author, "Beyond the Baton" (Oxford University Press).
Concert tickets: Miller Symphony Hall Box Office, 23 N. Sixth St., Allentown; allentownsymphony.org; 610-432-6715