By ROY BERKO
Beck Center often coordinates with Baldwin Wallace Music Theatre program to produce some of the Cleveland area’s best musical theatre. Not only does the stage often sparkle with BWU students, but thespians from all over the area are cast in some of the Beck shows.
Hosted by Kathleen Rooney Faubel, a BWU alum whose talent was showcased at Beck in The Little Mermaid and Evil Dead:The Musical, and her husband, Jarid Faubel, a showcase is being streamed which features performances and interviews with former Baldwin Wallace College actors and singers who have gone on to Broadway or appeared in professional company national tours.
Rory O’Malley, a St. Ignatius and Carnegie Mellon grad who appeared on Broadway in The Book Of Mormon, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee and Hamilton, opened the program with a well-interpreted “A Good Thing Going,” which is from Sondheim’s Merrily We Roll Along.
Some of the members of the cast of Beck’s Dog Fight did a medley from the show. Included was Colton Ryan, a BW grad, who not only sang in that number, but did a charming personal interview. Ryan made his Broadway debut in another Pasek and Paul vehicle, Dear Evan Hanson, and was a part of the cast of the new Bob Dylan musical The Girl from the North Country. Other performers were Zack Adkins, Gabe Brown, Mike Cefalo, Nick Drake, Andrew Kotzen and Stephan Stubbins.
Keri Rene Fuller, showcased in Beck Center’s Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson and Dogfight, brought her talents to Broadway in Waitress and was a part of the most recent national tour of Cats. She sang a plaintive version of “Before It’s Over.”
Corey Mach, who performed in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat at Beck Center prior to becoming a BW student and taking his talents to Broadway, appeared on the Great White Way in Kinky Boots, Hands on a Hardbody and Godspell. He toured in Wicked, Flashdance: The Musical and Rent. In this program he did a delightful rendition of “You’ll Be Back” from Hamilton.
The Faubels not only did a walking tour of some of the Broadway theaters, but interrupted their hosting to perform an engaging rendition of “It’s De-Lovely.”
Rebecca Pitcher performed at Beck in Sweeney Todd and She Loves Me and is noted for her long run as Christine in The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway. She also appeared in Carousel on the Great White Way and toured in The Sound of Music. She not only sang “How Could I Ever Know” from The Secret Garden, but told the tale of how she accidentally caught on fire while performing in “Phantom.”
Cassie Okenka, another BW alum, performed at BC in Moby Dick: The Musical before rocking her way to Broadway in School of Rock and Bonnie and Clyde. For the reunion concert she sang Jackie DeShannon’s “Put a Little Love in Your Heart.”
Cincinnati Conservatory of Music alum Max Chernin, who sang “Sailing” from A New Brain, was seen on the Beck Center boards in Aida and The History Boys. He performed in Broadway’s Bright Star and the revival of Sunday in the Park with George.
The concert ended with Libby Servais, who was Glinda in Broadway’s Wicked and also performed there in Lysistrata Jones. She was accompanied by and sang “‘Till There Was You” from The Music Man with her husband.
For anyone who loves musical theatre and talented Broadway performers, the Beck Broadway Alumns in Concert stream is a total must see! Click here for free tickets to this engagement, which runs March 5 to March 28, 2021. Click the link to “rent” the video. It will take you to a page where you can add your email. A link will then be sent, which is good for 48 hours from the time of the first stream. There is also an opportunity to add a donation to keep Beck running as a thank you for the show and as a boost for their viability as a performing arts center.
(Roy Berko is a member of the American Theatre Critics Association and the Cleveland Critics Circle.)