Dazzling with familiar show tune songs, the Utah Symphony is honoring Broadway icon Jerry Herman in their aptly named upcoming concert, “Jerry Herman: The Broadway Legacy Concert.”
Jerry Herman is a well accomplished and recognized composer, serving as the mastermind behind numerous Broadway classics such as “Mame,” “Hello, Dolly!” and “Dear World.” To the conductor for this performance, Randall Craig Fleischer, “[Herman’s works are] some of the most award-winning Broadway musicals in history.”
Fleischer leads guest vocalists Debbie Gravitte, Klea Blackhurst, Ron Raines, Jason Graae, Scott Coulter and John Boswell in this richly packed program.
Combining with a group of talented and expert vocalists, the symphony aims to give a well-rounded and full depiction of selected Herman pieces, highlighting the classic quality of show tunes. “The music of Broadway is some of the most enjoyable, compelling and iconic music America has produced,” said Fleischer.
Even for the non-Broadway listener, these songs and this music might surprise you. “I would say that you actually are familiar with Broadway music, but you probably don’t know it,” said Fleischer.
This production by the Symphony is particularly unique because it is providing full orchestral support in addition to vocalists. Coulter explained that, “Broadway songs are rarely heard with orchestras of this size,” adding that usually there are around ten musicians in the orchestra accompanying a musical. “The chance to hear these songs with a full symphony orchestra is a gift,” he said, concluding, “Presenting show tunes with symphonic backing allows the listener to sort of bathe in the rush of sounds. It can be really moving.”
The tribute to Herman goes beyond the concert performance. A masterclass was held at the University of Utah on Tuesday, February 7, 2017, and was directed by Salt Lake native Klea Blackhurst and John Boswell, both of whom are featured vocalists in the performance. Two university students from the masterclass were then selected to perform with the cast of Jerry Herman: The Broadway Legacy Concert and Utah Symphony in the upcoming concerts.
“[This was] a way of reaching younger audiences and sort of passing the torch,” said Coulter. “The goal of this [was] to bring this music that may be unfamiliar to today’s college students to their generation.”
The combined musical talent of students, vocalists and the symphony will set the stage for an ideal portrayal to this Broadway icon. “Broadway is a rich, wonderful form of entertainment. It’s dramatic, funny, cool, impactful and wildly enjoyable… combine this with the glorious musical sweep of a full symphony and you have an extraordinary evening,” said Fleischer.
Performances take place on Feb. 10 and 11 at 7:30 p.m. at Abravanel Hall. Tickets start at $21 ($15 for students), and can be purchased at www.utahsymphony.org or by calling (801) 533-6683.