Two of Broadway’s brightest stars were joined Friday evening by a collection of Washington, DC theatre luminaries for “Broadway in the Park,” an evening of song that spanned the history of the American musical and featured selections from such favorites as “West Side Story,” “Les Misérables,” and “Hamilton,” among many others.
A rousing version of the overture from Gypsy began the program that moved through a selection of ballads, duets, and choruses led by conductor Jon Kalbfleisch and the Wolftrap Orchestra in a production that marked the first-ever collaboration between Arlington’s Signature Theatre and Wolftrap.
Bathed in a purple light, the Filene Center stage came alive with performances by Washington’s own Christian Douglas, Rayshun LaMarr, Katie Mariko Murray, Tracy Lynn Olivera, Nova Y. Payton, and Bobby Smith. Among the notable performances were Murray and Douglas’ passionate rendition of “Tonight” from “West Side Story,” Olivera’s “I Dreamed a Dream” from “Les Misérables,” Payton’s “Summertime” from “Porgy and Bess,” and Bobby Smith’s “I Am What I Am” from “La Cage aux Folles.” Rayshun LaMarr’s lead vocals in “Superstar” from “Jesus Christ Superstar” brought the audience to its feet in a joyous standing ovation.
Tony, Grammy, and Drama Desk Award-winner, Renée Elise Goldsberry dazzled an audience full of her fans with “You’ll Never Walk Alone” from “Carousel,” “Shadowland” from “The Lion King,” and of course, “The Schuyler Sisters” a nod to her star turn as Angelica Schuyler in the Broadway sensation, “Hamilton.”
Two-time Tony Award-winner, Brian Stokes Mitchell. began his set with “There’s No Business Like Show Business” from “Annie Get Your Gun,” followed by a high-energy rendering of “Feeling Good” from “Roar of the Greasepaint – The Smell of the Crowd,” and a duet from “Ragtime,” “Wheels of a Dream,” with the talented Nova Y. Payton. The set ended with “The Impossible Dream” from “Man of La Mancha,” a song Brian Stokes Mitchell sang for passersby from his apartment window above Broadway each day for months during the COVID-19 crisis.
The cast closed the evening with “Sunday” from “Sunday in the Park with George” and the orchestra accompanied the audience’s departure with a medley of tunes from “Cabaret.”
Running time: Approximately two hours with no intermission.
“Broadway in the Park” was presented on Friday, September 3, 2021 in the Filene Center at Wolftrap, 1645 Trap Road, Vienna, Virginia. For information about upcoming performances at Wolftrap, click here. For future performances at Signature Theatre, click here.