Producer and TheaterMania contributor Scott Siegel opened the annual Broadway Unplugged concert at the Town Hall on Monday, December 3 wearing a bright madras jacket he called "louder than Marc Kudisch." And while Kudisch, a Broadway Unplugged veteran, was otherwise engaged at the Roundabout's Assassins concert, there were plenty of stars on hand -- all singing completely unamplified.
The evening's highlights included William Michals' (South Pacific) earth-shaking renditions of "Soliloquy" from Carousel and "Dulcinea"/"The Impossible Dream" from Man of La Mancha (a show which he recently starred in at Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey); Cheyenne Jackson (The Performers) singing "Breeze Off the River" from The Full Monty and "Feeling Good" from The Roar of the Greasepaint: The Smell of the Crowd; thrilling versions of "On My Own" from Les Miserables and "Don't Cry For Me, Argentina" from Evita by Natalie Toro (Les Miserables); and Tony Award winner Debbie Gravitte (Chicago) performing "Count Your Blessings" from Irving Berlin's White Christmas.
Another stand-out moment was a sing-along version of Irving Berlin's holiday favorite "White Christmas," led by Julia Murney (Falling), dedicated to the victims of Hurricane Sandy. Late in the concert, powerhouse duo Orfeh (Legally Blonde) and her husband Andy Karl (The Mystery of Edwin Drood) brought the house down with Aida's poppy ballad "Elaborate Lives."
Other performers on hand included Michael Winther (Mamma Mia!), Kelli Rabke (Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat), Barbara Walsh (Company), Christina Bianco (Forbidden Broadway), and cabaret favorites Bill Daugherty, Carole J. Bufford, and Scott Coulter.
These talented Broadway belters could probably be heard all the way out onto the street. As Siegel succinctly put it, "One sings differently without a mic…they sing with their hearts and their souls."