Kicking off the show with a bang by singing “Be Our Guest” from Beauty and the Beast, the Silicon Valley Gay Men’s Chorus performed Showtune Showstoppers at the Santa Clara University Recital Hall April 11-13.
“Our concert tonight is all show tunes,” said Artistic Director Shawn Reifschneider. “A lot of people from the chorus and a lot of our audience members since I’ve come to be the artistic director have said, ‘when are you going to do an all show tunes show?’ And we finally decided that this year was going to be it. The focus of this concert and what I think is unique about it is there’s so many different varieties of music within the show tune genre. We have a very varied repertoire … It’s a fun show and the guys sound just amazing.”
The chorus, comprised of 30 singers from the Bay Area, sang show tune after show tune, hitting on some of the most well-known musicals, including “The Sound of Music” from The Sound of Music, “Defying Gravity” from Wicked, “Summertime” from Porgy and Bess, “I Dreamed a Dream” from Les Miserables, and songs from The Roar of the Greasepaint; Finian’s Rainbow; My Fair Lady; Sweet Charity; Lady, Be Good; Children of Eden; Ragtime and Smokey Joe’s Café.
In the first act, soloist Alex Maldonado wonderfully sang “You Can’t Stop the Beat” from Hairspray. Maldonado had the audience cheering when he did his best Tracy Turnblad impression and danced to the music.
The Act 1 highlight, however, was Show Stopper Bingo, where soloist James Creer introduced the game and had everyone laughing when he explained that once coming out of the closet, every gay male is provided with a “gay card” that says he’s an expert in show tunes. The medley included “No Business Like Show Business” from Annie Get Your Gun; “Sunrise, Sunset” from Fiddler on the Roof; “Hello, Dolly” from Hello, Dolly, “Oklahoma!” From Oklahoma!, and ended when someone shouted “Bingo.” However, SVGMC played a little trick on the audience, as half of them were given the same card.
While Show Stopper Bingo gave the audience a super sampling of well-sung show tunes, it was guest artist Mary Melnick who may have stolen the show with her Act 2 song, “Everybody’s Girl” from Steel Pier. Melnick strutted around the stage, put the boys in their place and had the audience in love with her by the end of the performance. It was unexpected and a delightful addition to an already sensational show.
A lovely arrangement of “The Impossible Dream” from Man of La Mancha ended the show, but the encore performance of “Seize the Day” from Newsies was the perfect closing to an otherwise spectacular showcase of show tunes that went from jazzy and serious to upbeat and fun all through the course of two hours.
The organization is currently recruiting new singers and accepts both gay men and male GLBTQQ (gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning) supporters. It is also recruiting volunteers and anyone, male or female, can help. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on joining.
SVGMC’s next show, Tell Him, includes actors as well as music, will be June 20-22 at the Santa Clara University Recital Hall. Tickets are on sale through www.scgmc.org and $20 for adults and $15 for students.