Dearborn Symphony rolls out red carpet for Broadway tribute

phyllisThe Dearborn Symphony, under the theatrical baton of pops conductor and pianist Rich Ridenour ushered in a blockbuster “Best of Broadway” performance April 13 at the Ford Community & Performing Arts Center.

Ridenour and special guest artists Stacy Mason, vocal; Jacqueline Csurgai-Schmitt, piano; Barry Ross, violin; Noretta Dunworth Dancers; and G. Kevin Dewey, director of the Henry Ford College jazz vocal ensemble, Midnight Blue, all lent their distinctive talents and celebrated 70 years of award-winning music.

The chartbuster performances spotlighted the best of Broadway. The program highlighted long standing, beloved songs and productions such as “On Broadway,” “Chicago,” “Jesus Christ Superstar,” “Funny Girl,” “America,” “Phantom,” “West Side Story,” “Fiddler on the Roof,” “Cats”, “A Chorus Line” and “Of Thee of Sing.”

The program opened with Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil’s “On Broadway.” The well-executed, soulful arrangement set the tone for the night’s program and gave the Symphony and Ridenour a chance to shine.

A nearly sold out house cheered when the music styling of John Kander and Fred Ebb’s, “Chicago,” gave rise to musical excellence. The lively performance continued with Henry Mancini’s arrangement of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Jesus Christ Superstar.”

Michael McGowan, principal trumpet; Debra Terry, concertmaster; Joni Day, principal oboe, when featured, played masterfully. Jason Cassell, drum kit, enhanced the entire show.

The Symphony’s own violinist and former Miss Michigan, Stacey Mason, triumphed as guest vocal soloist for her rendition of Webber’s “Memory” from “Cats.” In addition, Mason, in an impressive range of musical scores showcased her vocals in “Don’t Rain on My Parade” from “Funny Girl,”  “Somewhere” from “West Side Story” and “Phantom Fantasy.”

Bridging humor and showmanship, Csurgai-Schmitt and Ridenour delivered their duet of Lenard Bernstein’s “America” with impeccable ease.

A standout performance by Ross on violin elegantly delivered “Tradition” and “If I were a Rich Man” from “Fiddler on the Roof.” A heart felt performance by Ross gave rise to the duality and the human emotions found in both pieces. Ross was the humble force.

Midnight Blue helped close the night’s performance in a crescendo of song, as dance and instrumentals played out the evening’s last hit, Marvin Hamlish’s “Music and Mirrors”  from “Chorus Line.” Noretta Dunwoth Dancers kicked up golden success as they paid tribute to Marvin Hamlish’s “A Chorus Line Finale.“

The Dearborn Symphony closes its 56th season May 4, featuring the music from Roustom and Dvorak in a concert titled “From the New World.” The season’s finale promises to celebrate music’s future by featuring today’s outstanding musicians.

Dearborn Symphony President Sandy Butler encouraged everyone to attend to honor Markou’s remarkable achievements.

“Markou has been instrumental in the growth of the Dearborn Symphony as the premier community orchestra of southeast Michigan,” Butler said.

Ticket prices range from $15 to $35 and can be purchased in advance or at the door. For tickets or more information call 313-565-2424 or go to dearbornsymphony.org.