The Ordway's latest Broadway Songbook delves into the relationship that the Great White Way has had with Hollywood over the past 100 years. It was my first time seeing one of Ordway's Broadway Songbook's, and as a huge fan of showtunes and the stories behind them I jumped at the possibility to go. It was exciting to see that the host James Rocco had the same enthusiasm about theater that I did. The script by Jeffery P. Scott and James A. Rocco made the evening not only fun but also educational.
The feel of Act 1 and Act 2 is vastly different. Act 1 focuses on songs from older musicals, where you are most likely more familiar with the song than you are with the show. The songs that are featured are strong but I felt that the arrangements took all the life out of the them, leaving me feeling bored. The major exception to this being "Just Leave Everything to Me" from the movie version of Hello Dolly sung with great energy and spunk by Erin Schwab.
Act 2 really turned it around, this time focusing on songs from Broadway musicals that were adapted from movies, where for most show is better known than the songs. All of the songs picked in the second act were full of energy and the cast of The Broadway Songbook milked out every last drop. In Act 2 the entire cast of performers is able to shine. The Ordway did a great job in selecting the four featured artists, they balance each other out well, each bringing something new to the table. Kersten Rodau has the strong powerful voice that you so often associate with Broadway performers, Yolande Bruce is jazzy and a lot of fun in her performance of Push Da Button, Erin Schwab has such a fun and exciting personality she seems to glow and I couldn't help but smile every time she was on stage, plus she has a great voice. And Dieter Bierbrauer is dripping with charm.
If you are a fan of Broadway or Hollywood, or both, the Broadway Songbook at the Ordway is worth going to. And if you are feeling a little discouraged after Act 1, have no fear, Act 2 truly turns the night around.
Broadway Songbook: Hollywood and Broadway is playing at The Ordway until May 21st.