In the very best "show must go on" tradition, the performers of Las Vegas' Broadway In The Hood troupe battled mics that didn't work and lighting that didn't always shine to perform The Best of Broadway Las Vegas April 21 at Texas Station Casino.
The evening began with a red carpet (photo left ©Stephen Thorburn/www.the chickflicks.com) that gave the performers a taste of life in the spotlight.
Those performers, ranging in age from eight to early 60's, presented a two-act selection of songs from Broadway shows. The songs went back to 1935's Porgy and Bess and up to 2003's Rent. Along the way were selections from Fosse, Chicago, Bubbling Brown Sugar, The Wiz, Dreamgirls, Mama Mia, Hairspray, the Color Purple, Les Miz, Beauty and the Beast and 42nd Street.
Highlights included Somewhere Over the Rainbow performed by Lauretta Williams, a medley from Wicked in which Gabrielle Boyadjian did an outstanding version of Defying Gravity, Do You Hear The People Sing from Les Miz preformed by Torrey Russell and Ian Gargantiel, A bit later, Gargantiel did great credit to If I Can't Love Her from Beauty and the Beast. When many of the cast came off the stage to do a rousing Dancing Queen from Mamma Mia! the whole room participated and had great fun. The entire company came together for the finale, the Broadway anthem 42nd Street.
Of course, the non-working mics were a detriment but, when they did work - for most of the second act- the most talented cast was showcased beautifully.
By introducing young people to Broadway theater, the group has given them an outlet for both their talents and their socialization needs. It provides a family environment and support in difficult times during which many of the troupe members may not otherwise get any support.
The beautiful costumes were designed and made by Preston Coghill.
The Best of Broadway Las Vegas under the umbrella of A Source of Joy Theatricals. That group's co-founder and co-director of this show, Torrey Russell, spoke after the event. He apologized for the technical glitches and spoke of the meaning of Broadway In the Hood.
Many of the youngsters in the cast were discovered in shelters and in the Boys and Girls Clubs. Friday night (and a second show Saturday) was the organization's first fundraiser. They usually offer free performances in the very well-equipped West Las Vegas Library but as Russell noted, "shows cost money" and he asked attendees to contribute what they could. All tickets included a buffet dinner and there were theater poster raffles of shows in which he's been involved.
Hopefully, the Las Vegas community will rally around Broadway In The Hood. It is made up of very talented people around whom it's probably easy to rally. Be sure to check them out at http://www.broadwayinthehood.net.