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The Arkansas Traveler: 100 Years of Broadway on Dickson Street

March 29, 2011

By Abby Unruh

Five fabulous performers dazzled audience members and had them standing for ovation after ovation as Neil Berg's 100 Years of Broadway made its stop at the Walton Arts Center Tuesday night.

Berg, co-producer with Adam Friedson, was also the musical director and host of the show. His vibrant personality and supernaturally soothing skills on the eighty-eights diffused throughout the theatre and guided the crowd through timeless Broadway hits from the likes of Leonard Bernstein and Rogers & Hammerstein.

Carter Calvert kicked the show off with a smoldering take on "All That Jazz." The sultry number showcased her versatility and set the tone for the rest of the night.

Berg gave the audience a disclaimer about the next performer, Jeffrey Denman, labeling him one of the last great singer/dancers of this generation. Denman lived up to the preamble with a crowd-pleasing tap routine.

Denman's talent and the audience's uproarious approval reached an apex when he did his best Gene Kelly impression, performing "Singin' in the Rain," and yes, he danced with umbrella hand.

The first standing ovation of the night followed tenor Danny Zolli's flawless take on Franki Valli and the Four Seasons' hit "Sherry," from the Broadway smash, Jersey Boys.

Scintillating soprano Sandra Joseph wowed the crowd when she sang hits from The Phantom of the Opera and The Sound of Music. Her spine-tingling pitch and deceptively strong sustain brought the crowd to their feet and left some in tears.

Joseph, who played Phantom's leading lady Christine Daae longer than any other performer in the show's history, also treated the audience to other hits, including "The Balcony Scene," from West Side Story, and "I Could Have Danced All Night," from My Fair Lady.

Robert Dusold showed why he was a critically claimed performer, as Javert and Valjean in Les Miserables, pouring out his raw emotion into a heartfelt tune from the classic Broadway musical.

The night ended just like it began, with a raucous ovation from the audience, in response to the inspiring hit from Rent, "Seasons of Love," sang by the cast members and five winners of a "Singing with the Stars," talent competition held by the show's directors.

If larger-than-life voices and mind-boggling musical talent aren't your thing, and if being treated to a healthy dose of golden Broadway hits isn't appealing, then it is best to steer clear of the Walton Arts Center. But if those things sound like something you might enjoy, Neil Berg's 100 Years of Broadway will not disappoint.

The show will be at WAC through April 3.

About the Author - Abby Unruh
Abby is a senior Apparel Studies major at the University of Arkansas. She is a co-contributor to a weekly fashion column and writes various feature articles for Traveler online and print.

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Nyack, NY 10960
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Contact: Joe D'Urso
email: info@neilberg.com
phone: 845-353-2407
For Booking Information:
Contact Producer: Adam Friedson
email: friedsonent@gmail.com
phone: 510-206-6111
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