• Pamela Froman

Valley Opera and Performing Arts presents "The Best of Broadway, Vol. VI"

Valley Opera and Performing Arts presents "The Best of Broadway, Vol. VI"! at the beloved Madrid Theatre in Canoga Park.

This ambitious Broadway concert features not only the world-class soloists and orchestra you've come to love and expect from Valley Opera and Performing Arts, but special guests, The San Fernando Valley Master Chorale, under the direction of Charlie Kim, and Valley Dance Theater, choreographed by Ian Waschak and under the artistic direction of Cindy Gebelein.

Critically acclaimed soloists include Valley Opera and Performing Arts favorites Dylan F. Thomas, Shira Renee Thomas, Katie McTyre, Drew Schufman, Chris Hunter, Sarah Salazar, and Amanda Benjamin.

This amazing show featured songs from favorite musicals, including The Phantom of the Opera, Guys and Dolls, Into the Woods, Wicked, Les Miserables, Annie Get Your Gun, Thoroughly Modern Milly, Kiss Me Kate, and A Chorus Line, among many others. Returning by popular demand was an encore performance of last year's hit Mel Brooks Medley. 

The show opened with all the soloists and the The San Fernando Valley Master Chorale singing “Another Op'nin', Another Show” from Kiss Me Kate. It then moved onto a medley from Wicked featuring singers Shira Renee Thomas and Katie McTyre. Shira Renee Thomas has performed nearly 20 different leading soprano roles, and Katie McTyre has a Bachelors and Masters degree in music.

Then the program moved on to “Being Alive” from Company performed by Drew Schufman, “Gimme Gimme” from Thoroughly Modern Millie performed by Sarah Salazar, “Maybe This Time” from Cabaret performed by Dylan F. Thomas, “Cabaret” from And The World Goes 'Round performed by Julie Anne Bermel, The San Fernando Valley Master Chorale and Charlie Kim, Conductor. A medley from Into The Woods continued on through the first act.

Chris Hunter rolled the dice as he sang “Luck Be A Lady” from Guys and Dolls. Chris recently performed South Pacific with the Culver City Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Frank Fetta. Then Katie McTyre sang an infectious version of “Getting Married Today” with a veil atop her head along with soloists Drew Schufman and Amanda Benjamin.

Ending the first act was a medley from Les Miserables. Shira Renee Thomas performed a stirring version of “On My Own.” Dylan F. Thomas sang an amazing styling of “Bring Him Home” and then the entire cast came together with a performance of “One Day More.”

The second act opened with “Masquerade” from Phantom of the Opera. The San Fernando Valley Master Chorale held masks as they sang while soloists Sarah Ruopp, Charlie Kim, Karen McInnis, Ellen Ford, Steve Barnett, Angel Ramirez, Howard Anderson took over the stage.

Next came the homage to Starbucks as the hilarious “Taylor the Latte Boy” was performed by Katie McTyre and “Taylor's Response” was performed by Dylan F. Thomas. The green apron was on display and the foam was extra!

The show continued with “One” from A Chorus Line with San Fernando Valley Master Chorale and Valley Dance Theater. The dancers took to the stage and made the song their own. Next came “Nothing” from A Chorus Line performed amazingly by Amanda Benjamin. Her notable roles in musical theatre include Maria in West Side Story and Christine Daae in Phantom of the Opera. She truly can become an ice cream cone like in the song!

Drew Schufman brings cake to life with “Sara Lee” from And The World Goes 'Round, and then we headed to the islands with “Some Enchanted Evening” from South Pacific performed by Chris Hunter. Sarah Salazar then took us on a fairytale jouney with “Shy” from Once Upon A Mattress.

Amanda Benjamin and Drew Schufman took each other on with a rousing performance of “Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better” from Annie Get Your Gun. Katie McTyre created a yummy performance of “Vanilla Ice Cream” from She Loves Me and Dylan F. Thomas creating a stunning version of “Unchained Melody.”

Back because of popular demand was the hilarious medley of Mel Brooks movies and musicals. This uproarious farce included the “Theme” from Young Frankenstein, “Puttin' On The Ritz” from Young Frankenstein, “He Rode A Blazing Saddle” from Blazing Saddles, “I'm Tired” from Blazing Saddles and finally a rousing version of “Springtime for Hitler” from The Producers.

Closing the show was “Making Our Garden Grow” from Candide perfromed by Dylan F. Thomas, Shira Renee Thomas, and the entire VOPA Soloist Cast and the San Fernando Valley Master Chorale. It was truly the cherry on the top of a delicious musical ice cream sundae!

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