Saturday, February 13, 2016
review - JASON ALEXANDER WITH THE PHOENIX SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
"While Jason Alexander is best known for his award-winning portrayal of George Costanza on TV's "Seinfeld," he actually got his start on Broadway, having now appeared in six Broadway shows. Those who only know him from "Seinfeld" might be shocked to learn that before he became famous through that TV series he won a Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical in 1989 for Jerome Robbins' Broadway. Alexander recently performed two concerts with the Phoenix Symphony Orchestra where he got to show off both his musical theatre chops and his beloved comic skills.
Alexander's clear, exceptional singing voice and his agile dance moves perfectly combined with his natural comedic abilities throughout the concert. His ease in connecting with an audience was apparent through his ability to win them over, which was punctuated with his humorous, self-deprecating patter. The 80-minute act was a journey through Alexander's life, focused mainly on the musicals and artists that were significant to him when he was growing up. While the opening song, "So Exciting For You," which Alexander wrote, was very tongue in cheek in how it commented on how excited the audience should be to see him, it also set the tone for the entire concert—humorous yet heartfelt.Alexander spoke about the Broadway shows that resonated most with him as a youth, either from listening to the cast recordings that his older sister had or attending the shows with his parents. "Trouble" from The Music Man received a breakneck delivery from Alexander that was full of hand gestures, fast-paced dance steps, and facial expressions that highlighted the lyrics of the song. A medley of songs from Pippin featured a lovely version of "Corner of the Sky" that also touched upon his fascination with magic as a small boy. Throughout his performances of these songs, he reminisced about his past, mentioning several times that he was a "short and husky boy from New Jersey," joked with the audience, and spoke how these shows influenced him to become a performer....The inclusion of "popular" concerts like this one in the Phoenix Symphony Orchestra's calendar allows concertgoers to experience a well-known performer like Jason Alexander doing something they may not be aware he is capable of doing. Alexander's well-structured show gave insight into his past, and his affection for musicals was as palpable as his passion and devotion to performing. His continued praise of the PSO throughout the concert was echoed by the practically sold out audience." -Gil Benbrook, Talkin' Broadway (click here to read the complete review)