LIGHTS MAY HAVE DIMMED in 2014, but the curtains rose in a simpler time when fringe jackets and bell-bottoms ruled the fashion scene and rock and roll dominated the airwaves.
Patrons at the revived Broadway To Barbados sang and danced the evening away with a mix of hard rock, comedy and soul-stirring passion, when the season opened at the Frank Collymore Hall on Friday.
Broadway To Barbados was organised by Diamonds International, along with strategic partners.
All for a good cause, the stellar cast of past and present cast members of Broadway musicals – April Berry, Sophia Ramos, Jeannette Bayardelle, Andrea Rivette Danny Zolli, Jason Wooten, Brian Walters, Ted Levy and musical director Neil Berg – dusted off the best of the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s in the near three-hour show. Local songbird Lyn’l also represented the best the island had to offer with Feelin’ Good.
Listen To The Music was the only request of the evening and it was hard not to oblige, especially when it came to Rivette, who was specially asked to rejoin the ensemble. Jekyll And Hyde and Miss Saigon are some of the biggest credits to her name, but she will best be remembered by Barbadians for a live wire stage energy and interactive performance style. In Ring Dem Bells (And The World Goes Around), the large audience got the chance to flex their musical muscles using car keys, coins or anything that jingled.
Levy’s mix of storytelling, song and scintillating tap dance also made him an instant hit with those in attendance. His rendition of Summertime was easily one of the highlights of the first half as was Bayardelle’s And I Am Telling You. It was the penultimate song of the first half, but her vocal control and straight-up soul rocketed the performance into the league of unforgettable.
I’m My Own Grandpa (performed by Wooten) and Brand New Girlfriend (Walters) brought well timed comic relief. Individual performances aside, perhaps the best thing about the cast was its ability to feed off of each other’s energy, especially with the lack of a chorus line. Nothing made this more evident than Ramos’ interpretation of Bonnie Tyler’s Total Eclipse Of The Heart, featuring Zolli. The performance made excellent use of stage and lighting effects, while Ramos took the audience to the scene of a bloody heartbreak. Paradise By The Dashboard Light, rendered by Zolli and Ramos during the first half, was just as stellar.
And altogether, the ensemble was unstoppable, finishing the show on a high with Aquarius and Let The Sunshine In from the musical Hair.
Broadway to Barbados continues today and ends tomorrow.