For Andrew Lloyd Webber fans, there’s no better place to be this week than at the Orange County Performing Arts Center.  A sextet of Broadway stars and a full onstage symphony orchestra join forces to perform thirty of Sir Andrew’s most famous compositions, making for a spectacular two hours of song.

From Cats to Sunset Boulevard to Evita to The Phantom Of The Opera, all of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s greatest hits are here—“Memory,” “As If We Never Said Goodbye,” “Don’t Cry For Me Argentina,” and “The Music Of The Night”—as are less familiar but no less melodic numbers like “Unexpected Song” (from Song And Dance), “I Believe My Heart” (from The Woman In White), and the title tune from Starlight Express.

All six of the evening’s stars have major Broadway and off-Broadway credits to their name.  David Josefsberg and Kevin Kern both appeared in Les Misérables, The Wedding Singer, and Altar Boyz; Kathy Voytko in the most recent Oklahoma! revival; Deone Zanotto in A Chorus Line’s return to Broadway; and Howard McGillin and Laurie Gayle Stephenson both in The Phantom Of The Opera, McGillin having performed the title role over 2500 times on Broadway.

Needless to say, it would be hard to imagine a more talented group of performers, and each brings his or her own particular vocal stylings to the evening. Josefsberg and Zanotto have sensational rock star pipes, which they show off in a trio of duets—“Superstar” (from Jesus Christ Superstar) and “One Rock ‘N’ Roll Too Many” (from Starlight Express) and “The Vaults Of Heaven” (from Whistle Down The Wind).  Josefsberg in particular reaches high notes most of us can only imagine.  Kern and Voytko’s gorgeous pop voices make them the perfect choice to sing Kern’s “Gethsemane (I Only Want To Say)” and Voytko’s “I Don’t Know How To Love Him” (both from Jesus Christ Superstar).  Finally, there are McGillin and Stephenson’s superb “legit” voices in the former’s “Close Every Door” (from Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat) and the latter’s “Unexpected Song” (from Song And Dance).

The first act features songs from Cats, Jesus Christ Superstar, and a half dozen or so of Sir Andrew’s (relatively) lesser known shows, the second focusing on his trifecta of megahits—Sunset Boulevard, Evita, and The Phantom Of The Opera.  Not unexpectedly, McGillin and Stephenson duet the title song from Phantom, in which both appeared on Broadway. The orchestra solos in “The Jellicle Ball” (from Cats), the “Overture” of The Beautiful Game, and a medley of tunes from Aspects Of Love.

Featuring Brian Nason’s spectacular Vegas-ready lighting design and Lucas J. Corrubia, Jr.’s crystal-clear sound design, The Music Of Andrew Lloyd Webber has been directed with imagination and flair by Tom Kosis, who also choreographed leggy Zanotto’s footwork in “Buenos Aires” (from Evita). The large onstage orchestra is conducted to perfection by musical director Edward G. Robinson.

There’s not a dull moment in The Music Of Andrew Lloyd Webber, and even audience members like this reviewer who might prefer either of the Stephens (Sondheim or Schwartz) over Sir Andrew will be hard-pressed to deny the beauty of his melodies or the power of the performances onstage at OCPAC. With major talents such as Josesfsberg, Kern, McGillin, Stephenson, Voytko, and Zanotto joining voices, The Music Of Andrew Lloyd Webber makes for the best Broadway concert in town. 

Orange County Performing Arts Center, 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa.

–Steven Stanley
February 16, 2010
                                                                         Photo: Scott Suchman

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