Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Journey with An Old Friend

In the musical Violet, a young woman goes on a pilgrimage to find a TV evangelist to heal her from a scar she received in a horrible accident. I had the privilege of playing that preacher man in a production in 2001 at 4th Wall Theatre and tonight, I returned on that journey with Violet once again for a one night only concert at City Center in NYC presented by the Encores! Series.

Sutton Foster has been a Tony award-winning darling on Broadway for many years and when announced she would be playing the 25 year old lead in this show, I will admit my first thought was "25?" - boy was I mistaken. Even sitting on the 2nd row (where I had amazing seats), she read so young, so vulnerable and sang the heck out of Jeanine Tesori & Brian Crawley's fabulous show. I have never seen Joshua Henry before and I have been missing out. Somehow, I've missed every Broadway show this man has done, but as Flick in this show - he brings the house down! My former next door neighbor, the wonderful Christopher Sieber plays the role that is near and dear to my heart and gives a great performance as the man that Violet is so desperate to meet. The church number literally shock the stage at City Center when a choir from Harlem joined them on the stage. The entire ensemble of 11 performers and entire pit were all wonderful and I count myself lucky being able to experience this explosive night.

Encores is known for presenting Broadway shows in a concert setting, but kudos to Jeanine Tesori (the Off-Center Artistic Director) for including off-Broadway shows such as this to give it another life. It is truly incredible to watch how much actors can get into a production they are only doing once and carrying scripts. It says much about their abilities as well as what is happening with this series.

Greg as Preacher-man '01
It is always something to return to a place from an earlier point in your life: however you may do that. Going back home after years, going to a high school reunion or in this case...a show that we were rehearsing during 9/11. Sitting there tonight, I remembered what it was like to decide to continue on and do this show back in Sept '01. You are not only moved by what is happening on stage, but you are moved by the memories you recall as well from when you were working on it. And to return there with cast members from our show 12 years ago, even more special.

It was a true joy to be able to go back there tonight and one I'll remember for a long time.

Great job to everyone involved in this show!

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