Ending on a high note

Bristol Riverside Theatre concludes Summer Music Fest with ‘Broadway Summer Spectacular'

It’s showtime: Broadway Summer Spectacular features Tasha Waters (pictured), Elyse Langley, Michele Sexton, Liam Snead and Bob Stineman, along with artistic director Keith Baker and the BRT Concert Band, all performing Broadway hits from composers like Andrew Lloyd Webber and more. Source: Bristol Riverside Theatre

When it comes to seeing a show on Broadway, there’s just something about the experience that’s unmatched. For a few hours, theater-goers unplug from the commotion of the outside world, and tune in to the emotions of the actors pouring their hearts out on stage.

According to performer Tasha Waters, who recently appeared in Woodstock at 50: A Celebration, the second concert in Bristol Riverside Theatre’s Summer Music Fest series, Broadway is the definition of a “spectacle.” With its top-notch actors, intricate set designs and energetic numbers, it’s nearly impossible to leave the theater without feeling that “Broadway high.”

For this exact reason, and in order to bring the razzle dazzle of The Great White Way to borough residents, BRT is continuing the tradition of concluding its concert series with Broadway Summer Spectacular.

Running Aug. 15-25, the show features Waters, Elyse Langley, Michele Sexton, Liam Snead and Bob Stineman, along with artistic director Keith Baker and the BRT Concert Band, all performing Broadway hits from composers like Andrew Lloyd Webber, Jerry Herman, Leonard Bernstein and more.

Ahead of opening night, The Times caught up with Waters, who is thrilled to be a part of Broadway Summer Spectacular for the third consecutive year. In her opinion, these hits – and Broadway as a whole – will never get old.

“Anytime you go to a Broadway show, it’s hard to not be so fully invested in the music, in the performances and in the storytelling. I think that in some ways, because there’s a story behind each of the musicals, you have that connection in a way that comes across more than in pop-type music,” Waters said. “It brings you a different feeling. There’s a range of emotions that are more prevalent in Broadway music. Even within one show, you can go from something that’s so heart-wrenching to just utterly uplifting.”

Broadway Summer Spectacular is comprised of music from both old and new productions, performed as solos, duets and group ensembles.

“We kind of range the gamut in the times of the pieces. We have things going back to the Golden Age, Rodgers and Hammerstein, Lerner and Loewe, Cole Porter, that kind of era, and going through all the things that are currently running on Broadway – stuff from Beautiful: The Carole King MusicalMiss SaigonYoung Frankenstein. We have a good range of material,” Waters said. “Just a very feel-good musical.”

Most of the pieces Broadway Summer Spectacular attendees will hear are fan favorites they’ll instantly remember, such as a Fiddler on the Roof medley.

“We do like to occasionally throw in some little nuggets that may be new for them that they can maybe learn to appreciate,” Waters said. “But for the most part, the music is going to be the kind of music that they recognize and love, and can sing along to and tap their feet to. We just want to have them walk away from it in a good mood.”

Waters’ solo numbers include “Back to Before” from Ragtime, “Turn Back Old Man” from Godspell and “I Feel the Earth Move” from Beautiful: The Carole King Musical.

According to Waters, matinee tickets for Broadway Summer Spectacular are almost sold out, and she encouraged interested audience members to take action for a few reasons – not only can this music bring back memories, it serves as a welcoming distraction from the stresses of everyday life.

“It’s one of those shows that you’re just going to walk away from with a big smile on your face, humming these tunes. It brings you back to a time that was happier. In this day and age, sometimes we can use an escape,” Waters said. “It’s going to be a great show. It’s a lot of fun. It’s a good mix of uptempo and ballads, and just music that everybody’s going to love.” ••

For ticket information, visit brtstage.org, call 215-785-0100 or visit the box office at 120 Radcliffe St., Bristol.

Samantha Bambino can be reached at sbambino@newspapermediagroup.com