CAPE COD TIMES
‘Broadway Spotlight’ full of veteran performers, show-biz hits
By Sue Mellen | July 14, 2019
HYANNIS — Naming a show “Broadway Spotlight” is a double-edged sword. It immediately conjures up the glitter, glitz and neon of the home of the world’s greatest live entertainment. (That’s good!) But if the Great White Way is the measure, producers and performers have a pretty high wall to scale. (That could be a bit dicey.) The trick, it would seem, is to stock the production with performers who really call Broadway home and spotlight numbers that have “show-biz hits” written all over them.
That’s the route New York casting director Stephen DeAngelis, the show’s producer, takes with this first entry on Saturday night in the five-part Cape Live summer concert series. The vocalists and musicians really have performed in long lists of Broadway shows, and — for the most part — the numbers are so familiar they inspire instant audience singalongs. (In fact, one of the vocalists, Judy McLane , has played the principal role in “Mama Mia” more than 4,000 times.) And the spotlight is entirely on the performers, with only a bare stage and creative lighting to support them.
Along with a medley of “MamMa Mia” tunes, McLane performed “How Lucky Can You Get?” from “Funny Lady” and “Can’t Help Loving Dat Man” from “Showboat.” Fellow performer Lana Gordon opened the show with “All That Jazz” from “Chicago,” reprising her role as Velma Kelly in the long-running show, and she brought the house down with her steamy performance of “Summertime.” The third female vocalist, Rona Figueroa, struck an especially sweet note with performances of “I’d Give My Life For You” from “Miss Saigon” and “Something Wonderful” from “The King and I.”
Balancing out the show were male performers John Peterson, Wade Preston and Eugene Gwozdz, the show’s musical director. Peterson performed a couple of song-and-dance numbers including the ever-popular “Singin’ in the Rain,” while reprising his role as the Emcee in “Cabaret” with “Willkomen.” Preston channeled Billy Joel convincingly for “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant” (Bottle of Red, Bottle of White) and, of course, “Piano Man.” And Gwozdz did the honors throughout as accompanist and purveyor of one-liners.
Cape Live owner and producer Bill Hanney writes in a program note that the company is just getting its feet wet with this year’s season. “Broadway Spotlight” will be followed by four other concerts. Hanney promises to bring popular musicals to the Cape next year. Let’s hope that’s a promise he keeps.