Earl Reece, director, said, “People have been really been requesting something that dealt with the music of Broadway. With the success of (‘Mo’ Motown’), we extended it a to second weekend just to try it and tread the water and see what happens.”
Songs from “Chicago,” “Footloose,” “Oklahoma!” and “Dreamgirls” are among the many that will be featured. With so many shows to choose from, how can the best of Broadway be defined?
Michael Zauchin, musical director, said, “Every show typically has a number or two that is the most memorable, whether it’s a tune you can’t get out of your head or a song that makes you want to dance constantly. You go through all the eras of Broadway, and you try to find those songs that people will hear and recognize within the first 10 seconds.”
There will be 24 main performers, and children from the Strand’s Performula camp will be featured. Zauchin, a choir teacher at Marietta High School, said, “It’s a really good show. The kids have worked hard, and their talents deserve to be seen.”
“Spring Awakening,” “The Book of Mormon,” “In The Heights” and “Les Miserables” are among the cast members’ favorite Broadway shows. Paige McCormick, dancer, said the music of “Newsies” — also part of the Strand’s show — is “incredible.”
Joe Arnotti, Andrew Cole, Jonathan Freeland and Branden Hembree will bring “Jersey Boys” to the stage. The show tells the story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, and the quartet will perform a medley of songs from the award-winning musical.
Of the show as a whole, Hembree said, “It’s going to be fantastic. The choreography is phenomenal, and the caliber of talent is tremendous.”
Freeland and Jalise Wilson, who will be performing a song from “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” said the audience will be treated to both classic and current tunes.
“Regardless of what era of Broadway you really are into, you get a taste of everything,” Freeland said. “Whether you are 80 or 8, you are going to hear something that you recognize.”
“The audience can expect numbers that are from the golden age of musical theater, like ‘Singin’ in the Rain,’ and numbers such as ‘In the Heights,’ new-age musical theater,” Wilson said. “It’s going to be taking them through Broadway’s journey as it started and how it evolved.”
Cole and dancer Julia Galasti said the familiarity of the songs will make for a great experience for everyone in attendance.
“You buy a ticket, and you get to experience the big number from over 40 different shows,” Cole said. “All of the things people are familiar with are what we’re doing.”
“It’s all Broadway hits, so everyone is going to know all the numbers,” Galasti said. “They are all going to have a great time listening and watching.”
In addition to an energetic and happy show, Arnotti said the cast will give the audience a taste of what’s to come.
“The people in the show truly are the future of what’s going to be on Broadway,” he said. “They are really going to shape the arts for the next generation.”
Show times for “The Best of Broadway” are Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., Sunday at 3 p.m., and Aug. 16, 17 and 18 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20 and assigned seating. The Strand Theatre is located at 117 North Park Square. To purchase tickets and for more information, visit www.earlsmithstrand.org or call (770) 293-0080.