Best of Broadway: 1996 to 2000
Breakthrough Theater of Winter Park
Winter Park, FL
New year? Old songs. What could be better until all the shows that need rehearsal can get on their feet? Tonight, we explore the 1996 to 2000 timeslot, and look at Broadway hits from that gold tinted era. Time runs time backward here, and we open with some blow out material from 2000 with the cast in matching red and black duds. “Swing” gives us a high power opener with the jazz standard “It Don’t Mean a Thing…” blending into “Welcome to My Party” from “Wild Party.” Not everyone on stage looks legal to drink, but they behave themselves and we then slide into a three cut look at “Aida” including the 60’s girl group sounding “My Strongest Suite.” Next, we slide back into 1999 with “Life Is A Bowl of Cherries” from “Fosse” and then a medley of “Footloose” numbers. It’s more rock and roll and Broadway, but this is no place to be a purist. Next Jamal Solomon gives us a sad number “Father How Long” from “Civil War” and we are into intermission.
Act Two maintains the energy with a “Lion King ” medley including a few ballet moves from Tayanna Cheyenne and Marni Palma. Angela Cotto delivers a resounding “Back To Before” from “ragtime” and Iris Johnson belts out my favorite song of the evening: “Everybody’s Girl” from the underappreciated “Steel Pier”. After some “Titanic” and “Jekyll and Hyde” material, the show punches out with a “Rent” medley. It’s been a few years since every cast in town was putting up “Rent.” But its been gone long enough now to give these songs their original impact. Like all these “Best of Broadway” compilations; this one provides large entertainment value without the complexity of plot or motivation.