Composer Frank Wildhorn and Broadway stars Norm Lewis, Jackie Burns and Adrienne Warren will perform at the de Jong concert hall on Oct. 30, 2015 for a concert featuring Wildhorn’s music, accompanied by BYU Symphony Orchestra and BYU Musical Theatre Chorus.
Wildhorn became the first American composer in 22 years to have three shows simultaneously on Broadway in 1999. Jekyll and Hyde received four Tony nominations; Scarlet Pimpernel received three nominations and Civil War received two. Songs from Jekyll and Hyde, “This is the Moment,” “A New Life” and “Someone Like You” have been performed at major events like the Olympics, the Super Bowl, Miss America Pageants and World Cup championships. He has also worked with solo artists like Natalie Cole, Sammy Davis Jr., Liza Minnelli, Julie Andrews and Patti LaBelle.
Christian Smith, who will conduct the BYU Symphony Orchestra, described Wildhorn as a versatile composer.
“He has a deep understanding of a number of traditions and styles and is able to write in those at the drop of a hat,” Smith said. “I think there’s no surprise why he’s considered one of the great Broadway composers of our day.”
The concert will include music from Wildhorn’s Broadway musicals and hit songs like “Where Do Broken Hearts Go?” which Wildhorn wrote for Whitney Houston. The BYU Symphony Orchestra will provide most of the accompanying music, according to Smith. He said he feels being an intricate part of the show is both great and daunting. He said he and the orchestra are honored to be a part of such a big show.
Smith said the College of Fine Arts faculty likes to have students see and work with these professionals to enhance their education.
“They see the art at its best,” Smith said. “When you can experience that, it will set your heights higher, can help you see what’s possible and inspire you.”
Gayle Lockwood, the musical director of BYU Musical Theatre Chorus, said these professional stars who come to BYU are kind and encourage those around them. Students learn that celebrities are just people, but also learn what kind of person it takes to be successful.
“Those who make it big and can choose what they want to do are very generous with others because they are comfortable with themselves,” Lockwood said.
Norm Lewis will teach a masterclass for BYU students before the concert. Lewis played the role of Javert in Les Miserables in Concert: The 25th Anniversary, performed at The O2 in North Greenwich, London, England. He became the first African-American to play the title role in The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway in May, 2014.
Jackie Burns and Adrienne Warren both performed with Wildhorn in 2013 at BYU in a concert titled, Frank Wilhorn and Friends. Adrienne Warren debuted on Broadway playing Danielle in the original cast of Bring It On the Musical, which received a Tony-Award nomination. She also played Lorrell in a production of Dreamgirls performed at the Apollo.
Burns starred as Elphaba in the Broadway production of Wicked and was the stand-by for Idina Menzel in the Broadway musical If/Then for the role of Elizabeth. She also played one of the Black Boys trio in the original cast of Broadway’s Tony-Award winning revival of Hair.
The actress mentioned this concert will feature songs from Wildhorn’s newest upcoming musical. She said the concert “is going to be epic sounding!” with the full orchestra and chorus joining in.
Students can buy tickets at the Harris Fine Arts Center, The Marriott Center, by phone at 801-422-2981 or online at byuarts.com.