Wednesday, August 23, 2017

review - THE BROCKWAY EXPERIENCE - A/C Theatre Company

Chanel Bragg, Megan Moylan, Ava Tyson, and Maya Weber
Photo by Josh Globke
highlights from local critics reviews - (click link at bottom of each review to read complete review)

"The words "rock musical" can sometimes be off putting to those musical theatre fans who prefer Rodgers and Hammerstein and classic musicals like Fiddler on the Roof over shows like Rent or American Idiot. Yet local music director and musician Mark 4Man has come up with a solution that attempts to bridge the gap between rock and Broadway, and he calls it The Brockway Experience. This concert production just concluded a run at A/C Theatre Company with a phenomenal cast and a fantastic band. I can only hope that future installments of this show are in the works. Taking such classic, traditional songs like "Tonight" from West Side Story and the title tune from The Phantom of the Opera and setting them to a rock beat not only puts a whole updated spin on these familiar songs but it also gives a new avenue for local musical theatre performers to show their impressive vocal capabilities. 4Man works constantly across the Valley at numerous theatres and his dedication, expertise, professionalism and talent are continually on display in every aspect of the shows he touches, whether directing, serving as music director, or playing in the show's band. His contributions to Brockway are no less exceptional. The ten person cast featured a mix of seasoned Phoenix based performers as well as a group of teens who have appeared in numerous youth productions across the Valley. While each performance of Brockway was different, with guest stars each night and a set list that changed somewhat, the performance I attended was slightly skewed to be less of an ensemble piece and more of a venue for a few of the performers....I hope that, for future productions of this show, the balance is somewhat more even. Megan Moylan, Eddie Maldonado, and Sam Primack received the most chances to strut their stuff, with Moylan getting the majority of the solos to sing. ...she provided plenty of showstopping moments, including a performance of "Defying Gravity" that was sensational ...Maldonado's soaring performance of "Send in the Clowns" from A Little Night Music was the highlight of the night and showed how 4Man's idea to take a familiar song but present it in an entirely new way was not only impressive but inspiring...Primack's passionate version of "Waving Through a Window" from Dear Evan Hansen was superb and he sang "Steal Your Rock 'n' Roll" from Memphis with Chanel Bragg and was featured on the encore of "Goodbye" from Catch Me If You Can that also included Joey J. Grado—both of whom recently sang that song in different local productions of that musical earlier this year....The women in the cast provided some beautiful harmonies on the Oscar winning film song "Fame" while the teenagers in the cast delivered a stunning version of "Façade" from Jekyll and Hyde that opened the second act. ..The band, led by 4Man on piano, Bobby Flanagan on drums, and Daniel "CheezyCheez" Johnson and Daryl "Pops" Johnson on guitar and bass, was stellar...Ryan Pottle's sound design was the best I've ever heard for a musical performed in this space, with crystal clear vocals and an impressive sound balance. Heavy rock operas and rock musicals like Hair may not appeal to traditional musical theatre fans, but if The Brockway Experience pops up again, I recommend any musical theatre fan, even those who don't like "rock musicals," to go. " -Gil Benbrook, Talkin' Broadway (click here to read the complete review)

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