Entertainment

When I Grow Up: Broadway’s Next Generation

by Steven Bergman
Contributor
Tuesday Jul 30, 2013
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Broadway is currently experiencing an influx of prepubescent performers. "Matilda," "Annie," and "A Christmas Story" are just three of the past year’s musicals to have a large cast of children involved, which became blatantly obvious to a national audience during this June’s Tony-Award broadcast, when it appeared as if every musical production number was from a kid’s show.

Therefore, it only makes sense for Broadway Records to continue its well-received "Live at 54 BELOW" series by jumping on this bandwagon with an evening of performances from Broadway’s next generation. "When I Grow Up: Broadway Next Generation - Live at 54 BELOW" features many of the youngsters who have had the opportunity to grace the boards in the past few years.

However, instead of allowing the kids to present material that allows for meaningful interpretations from someone who can relate to the feelings of their character, the creative team, including director Kenny Howard and musical director Michael Moritz, gave the performers the opportunity to present songs that, in several instances, placed them in the challenging position of attempting to create moments that were impossible for their youth to believably present. This makes the recording a mixed evening of cuteness and question marks.

Make no mistake: The kids are talented, and when the song choice is appropriate (as in Grace Capeless’ wonderful rendition of "Waiting For Life") or at least a quirky, yet appreciative stretch for the singers ("Farmer Tan" from "Pump Boys and Dinettes" is delightfully done by Ethan Haberfield, Isabela Moner and Zoe Considine) the number works. But tackling more adult numbers (Sondheim’s "Getting Married Today," "Superboy and the Invisible Girl" from "Next to Normal" and Jason Robert Brown’s "Someone to Fall Back On") asks these young talents to climb a tall mountain without the proper provisions.

If you’re a fan of one of the specific up-and-comers on this recording, then you’ll enjoy hearing them live, regardless of their song choice. For the rest of us, we should look forward to more anticipated releases from this series in the fall.

"When I Grow Up: Broadway Next Generation - Live at 54 BELOW"
Various performers
CD and digital formats
Broadway Records

Steven Bergman is a Composer / Playwright / Performing Arts Educator based outside of Boston, MA.

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