The New York Pops, led by Music Director and Conductor Steven Reineke, continued their 2022-2023 at Carnegie Hall season on Friday November 18, titled “Broadway Blockbusters.”
The show featured songs by shows we are saying good-bye to and composer’s and artists we lost during the year. The New York Pops started with selections from The Phantom of the Opera, but sadly was not mic’d well and didn’t sound as resilient as they normally do. The sound design should be seriously looked into, because this orchestra deserves the best.
Melissa Errico (My Fair Lady, High Society, Amour)
Nikki Renée Daniels (Company, The Book of Mormon)
Jordan Donica (My Fair Lady, The Phantom of the Opera; San Francisco and Los Angeles companies of Hamilton), and Matt Doyle (2022 Tony Award Winner for Best Featured Actor in a Musical in Company) paid tribute with Jerry Herman’s “It’s Today” from Mame.
Next up Matt Doyle who sang “Who Can I Turn To?” from The Roar of the Greasepaint – The Smell of the Crowd.
Nikki Renée Daniels last seen on Broadway in Company, relived her performance of “I Dreamed a Dream” from Les Misérables. Daniels played Fantine in the 2006 Broadway revival of Les Miz, where she was the understudy for the role.
Recreating his role in The Phantom of the Opera Jordan Donica was joined by Ms. Daniels for a thrilling “All I Ask Of You”.
Jordan Donica, who was not that well known to me, sang a glorious rich version of “Impossible Dream” from Man of La Mancha.
Recreating her role in My Fair Lady, Melissa Erico and Leonardo Altafine, Alonzo Johnson, Tim Koch and Joey Zook from Judith Clurman’s Essential Voices USA sang “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly”.
Paying tribute to Stephen Sondheim from Sunday In The Park With George, “Move On” sung with Matt Doyle.
Ending the first act was the cast recreating Matt Doyle’s 2022 Tony Award song “(Not) Getting Married Today”, which won him the Tony for Best Featured Actor in a Musical in Company.
In this show Ms. Daniels re-created her role of Jenny.
After a brief intermission where the talk was all about Jordan Donica and Judith Clurman’s Essential Voices USA, the Gypsy overture beloved by all musical theatre fans was highlighted.
Then it was a tribute to Rodgers and Hammerstein with the title song from Oklahoma, sang with joyful abandon by Judith Clurman’s Essential Voices USA.
What happened next is how musical history is made. Jordan Donica owned “Soliloquy” from Carousel. Sounding like John Rait, Alfred Drake, John Cullen and Richard Kiley combined, his layer, nuanced baritone was the essence of the song. I am not exactly a fan of this song, but Donica peeled it like a onion in delicate layers, exposing every emotion, every ounce of control so that it was a performance not to have been missed. He became a super nova at that moment and received a standing ovation. He separated himself from the rest with his stupendous performances. I can not wait to see him play Lancelot in the upcoming Camelot.
Melissa Erico sang Sondheim’s achingly longing “Losing My Mind” from Follies.
Matt Doyle asked “Why God Why?” from Miss Saigon.
Nikki Renée Daniels channeled Whitney Houston with “Home” from The Wiz.
Then Jordan Donica was back duetting with Matt Doyle on Lucy Simon’s “Lily’s Eyes” from The Secret Garden. Again Donica was beyond impressive. He is just a step above and where I thought we had lost our leading men out steps Jordan Donica.
Not to be out done Melissa Erico and Nikki Renée Daniels brought back “I Will Never Leave You” from Side Show.
Ending the concert Rodgers and Hammerstein, “Climb Ev’ry Mountain” from The Sound of Music, sung by the cast and Judith Clurman’s Essential Voices USA.
The encore was “Do-Re-Mi”. Ending a memorable night.
I am so grateful to the New York Pops for introducing me to the talent of Jordan Donica and I look forward to watching his star rise.
Up next and a do not miss is Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree featuring Ingrid Michaelson ( The Notebook musical) performing carols and holiday tunes with Essential Voices USA December 16. The artist will present original songs and her holiday album Songs for the Season the following evening December 17 in Winter Song: A Holiday Evening with Ingrid Michaelson.