It’s a Herculean task to distill over 70 years of Broadway into a single night. With the exception of a few snoozers, NY Pops conductor Steven Reineke managed to do it on Friday November 16th at Carnegie Hall. The celebrated orchestra, along with the New York Theatre Ballet (Diana Byer, Founder and Artistic Director) and Essential Voices USA (Judith Clurman, Music Director and Conductor) treated audiences to “Song and Dance: The Best of Broadway.”
Jule Styne‘s rousing Overture from Gypsy opened the show, followed by the title song from Oklahoma! Two dream ballet segments from that Rodgers and Hammerstein classic followed–with Agnes De Mille’s choreography performed by Byer’s ensemble. It wouldn’t be the only show represented by these two giants of musical theatre. Later, NYTB returned for “Hornpipe” from Carousel. Although the score is incredibly lush, the evening ambled into lugubrious territory, thanks largely in part to the Carousel number and selections from Lerner and Loewe’s Brigadoon-both of which might have been replaced by some up-tempo tunes. Nonetheless, NYTB did a beautiful job with the intricate movement.
Clurman’s singers, as usual, delivered their top-notch quality in Ralph Burns‘ arrangement of A Chorus Line selections. The choir was also featured in Randall Fleischer’s arrangement of Rent‘s “Seasons of Love”, “Sunday” from Sunday in the Park With George (arranged by Jason Robert Brown, “You Will Be Found” from Dear Evan Hansen (arranged by Mac Huff and orchestrated by Reineke), and a new choral arrangement by Mark Hayes of “Make Them Hear You” from Ragtime.
Reineke’s program also included other stalwarts of the theatre world including Stephen Sondheim, Cole Porter, John Kander and Fred Ebb.
Certainly, some favorites were missing, but Reineke is not to blame. After all, one person’s favorite might be another’s disdain. What matters is that, years after these pieces were written, all of them continue to be remembered by the fine musicians of the NY Pops.
Next month, The NY Pops will return to the Carnegie’s Isaac Stern Auditorium on Dec. 20th and December 21st for “Under the Mistletoe”, a Holiday concert featuring Broadway’s Ashley Brown.
For more information about NY Pops, visit their website.