The Voice
From Broadway With Love

EDER-tors' Note: It's an honor to bring you this story, and to once again collaborate with Linda’s friend, Jill Siegel, on THE VOICE. Jill was our mentor and has remained our friend all these years since we first began publication of the online edition of THE VOICE. She was in attendance at “From Broadway With Love” on January 28, 2013, and has generously shared her perspective on the experience with Linda’s fans and also has included Linda's own thoughts on the evening.


FROM BROADWAY WITH LOVE BENEFITS NEWTOWN COMMUNITY
AS WELL AS EVERYONE IT TOUCHED

Linda Eder Talks About Participating In This Once In A Lifetime Theatre Event

Linda Eder and Jill Siegel
(photo: Mike Kostel)

By Jill Siegel

I’ve had the incredible honor of being with LINDA EDER during so many of her important performances including those of “If I Had My Way,” which Frank Wildhorn and Jack Murphy originally wrote after 9/11 for her Gold album. Hearing Linda perform the song again on Monday [Jan. 28] at the Palace Theater in Waterbury, CT at FROM BROADWAY WITH LOVE (#FromBroadwayWithLove), for an intimate crowd full of families directly affected by the tragedy in Newtown and any first responders who were at the school that day and Sandy Hook Elementary School’s students, families, teachers, and administrators, the song took on a whole new meaning for everyone. Linda joined other great stars of Broadway including Brian “Stokes” Mitchell performing “The Impossible  Dream,” 72 Newtown dancers performing “You Can’t Stop the Beat” from Hairspray with Nikki Blonsky, Brooke Tansley, Micky Dolenz and Capathia Jenkins accompanied by the song’s composer, Marc Shaiman, and just when I thought the emotion couldn’t peak any higher, the show culminated with the entire From Broadway With Love company and students from Sandy Hook Elementary School performing Barry Manilow’s “One Voice.” Those involved said that they were there because while they obviously wished that the tragedy never happened, they wouldn’t be anywhere else at that moment. It was an amazing showing of Broadway’s best at their best.

Linda Eder and Van Dean (photo: Grace Rainer Long)

The Broadway community came together in the special way that they do when Van Dean, the Tony-Award winning Broadway Producer, originally from the Newtown area, got a Facebook message from Newtown resident Brett Boles, author of the musical Foreverman, just following the tragic events of December 14th. Said Van, “After Brett suggested the notion of a benefit concert to me, I immediately posted a note on my Facebook page looking for volunteers. Within a few hours I had 100 responses and knew that this would become something very special.” The result was the Broadway community of 150+ performers, composers, musicians, tech and sound pros, and producers joining together with the Newtown community to create a once in a lifetime evening of healing and love. There was moment after moment of love and personal dedication, artists reaching out to families and individuals to make a connection in their preferred language -- song.

Linda says, “’If I Had My Way’ has always had great meaning to me but singing it that night, in person, to the families and some of the students and staff who were in school that day, it took on a whole new meaning. I was honored to be there, along with the Broadway family to participate in this incredible night of song and celebration.” She continues, “The event hit so close to home, literally. We live not very far away, and my son is 13. This is an unimaginable and unexplainable tragedy.  I was able to actually meet and talk to the families after the show and I found it incredibly healing and a blessing. One of the ladies I met told me that she had seen me perform before but that this song now had new meaning. Her Mom is the school psychologist and they’ve been through so much and appreciated us all being there. Wow, that was an amazing thing to hear. The bravery of these people who have lived through this experience is incredible. The least we can do is show up and sing some songs and try and make them happy and hopefully raise some money in the process. All I could do was thank her for being there and allowing us to help in anyway we could.”

Linda Eder meets with families after the show

Over 150 performers took part in this momentous evening. A set list from the evening follows. Van Dean, who, with Broadway Records, has created soundtracks for Jekyll & Hyde: The Concept Album; Nick Jonas-Songs From How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying; The 54 Below Series, and more says that a CD and DVD of the evening will be available. More information will be available at FromBroadwayWithLove.org.

Also at FromBroadwayWithLove.org/auction is an exciting opportunity which offers fans access to incredible memorabilia like a Deer Valley Vacation w/ Delta Air Lines and St. Regis Hotel, signed Broadway posters, sports experiences, and more being added with all benefits going to The United Way of Western Connecticut's Sandy Hook School Support Fund, the beneficiary of the program.

You can join the community in support if you wish by visiting: www.FromBroadwayWithLove.org


Finale (photo: Grace Rainer Long)

THE EVENING:
Act One
1. “Seasons of Love” from Rent, featuring Tony Award nominee Robin De Jesus (In the Heights), Ashley Blanchet and the From Broadway with Love Chorus
2. “Beautiful City” from Godspell, performed by composer Stephen Schwartz
3. “Defying Gravity” from Wicked, performed by Julia Murney (Wicked) with accompaniment by the show’s composer, Stephen Schwartz
4. “On the Atchinson, Topeka and the Santa Fe” from The Harvey Girls, performed by Tony Award winner Christine Ebersole (Grey Gardens)
5. “Funny and the Joke” from My Favorite Year, performed by Janet Metz and Richard Kind
6. “I Wan’na Be Like You” from The Jungle Book, performed by Richard Kind
7. “Ol’ Man River” from Show Boat, performed by Tony Award nominee Philip Boykin (The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess)
8. “Still” by Brett Boles, performed by Brett Boles and the From Broadway with Love Chorus
9. “When You’re Good to Mama” from Chicago, performed by Drama Desk Award winner Mary Testa (Queen of the Mist)
10. “Finishing the Hat” from Sunday in the Park with George, performed by Tony Award winner Michael Cerveris (Evita), Newtown High School Chamber Choir and From Broadway with Love Chorus
11. “Sunday” from Sunday in the Park with George, performed by Tony Award winner Michael Cerveris (Evita), Newtown High School Chamber Choir and From Broadway with Love Chorus
12. “Somewhere” from West Side Story performed by Newtown High School Chamber Choir
13. “Raise Your Voice” from Sister Act, performed by members of the Broadway and touring cast of Sister Act
Act Two
1. “Overture” from Gypsy, performed by the From Broadway with Love Orchestra
2. “Just One Person” from Snoopy! The Musical performed by the Sesame Street performers and From Broadway with Love Chorus
3. “Blue Suede Shoes,” “Brown Eyed Handsome Man,” and “I Hear You Knockin’” from Million Dollar Quartet, performed by cast members of Million Dollar Quartet and Lee Rocker on bass
4. “I’m a Believer,” used in Shrek, performed by Micky Dolenz and From Broadway With Love Chorus
5. “Good Morning Baltimore” from Hairspray, performed by Nikki Blonsky, dancers from “Dance Etc.” and From Broadway with Love Chorus with accompaniment by Tony Award winning composer Marc Shaiman (Hairspray)
6. “You Can’t Stop the Beat” from Hairspray, performed by Nikki Blonsky, Brooke Tansley, Micky Dolenz, Capathia Jenkins, 72 Newtown Dancers, and From Broadway with Love Chorus, accompaniment by Marc Shaiman
7. “Sing” from Alive in the World, performed by Paul Scott Goodman and From Broadway with Love Chorus
8. “The Impossible Dream” from The Man of La Mancha, performed by Tony Award winner Brian Stokes Mitchell (Kiss Me Kate)
9. “Finding Wonderland” from Wonderland, performed by Capathia Jenkins, Frank Wildhorn, and From Broadway With Love Chorus, with accompaniment by Frank Wildhorn
10. “If I Had My Way” by Frank Wildhorn and Jack Murphy, performed by Linda Eder, Frank Wildhorn, and From Broadway With Love Chorus, with accompaniment by Frank Wildhorn
11. “One Voice” by Barry Manilow, performed by From Broadway With Love company and students from Sandy Hook Elementary School

The stellar Broadway ensemble featured Krystle Adams, Lindsay Aster, Rachel Baker, Leslie Becker, Mimi Bessette, Ashley Blanchet, Katie Branden, Corey Brunish, Billy Casey, Mark Chmiel, Andrew Clark, Aaron James Darr, Willie Dee, Hannah Rose DeFlumeri, Janine DiVita, Nicolas Dromard, Demi Fragale, Brian Golub, Dale Hensley,  Curtis Howard, Anthony Johnson, Missy Keene, Richard Koons, Kyshawn Lane, Tony Lawson, K.C. Leiber, Danny Lindgren, Jaygee Macapugay, Rhyn McLemore, Mark Bradley Miller, Thomas Ortiz, Allie Parris, Annie Pasqua, Jenna Pasqua, Jennifer Prescott, Aaron Riesebeck, Emma Ritchie, Brian Charles Rooney, Gabrielle Ruiz, Roland Rusinek, Krista Severeid, Cory Stonebrook, Erin Sullivan, Stewart Tabler, Tiffany Trainer, Price Waldman, Jamie Westberry and Chris Woods.

Also incorporated into the evening were some very special video greetings from shows currently running on Broadway as well as Oscar® nominee Anne Hathaway, plus Ricki Lake, Marissa Jaret Winokur, and others.

Finale (photo: Grace Rainer Long)

 

Take a look (and another listen) to the lyric of “IF I HAD MY WAY” in this context:
Songwriters: Frank Wildhorn/Jack Murphy

Long ago and far away
Before the world had come to this
I took for granted how my life would be
Assuming that my freedom would be free
Before these evening shadows fell
I reveled in the light of day
I rarely ever cried, my patience wasn’t tried
And heroes never died

Linda Eder performs "If I Had My Way" (photos: Grace Rainer Long)

But if I had my way
Things would be different
Danger wouldn’t come from a sky of blue
Choices would be clear
And strangers would be kinder
Love a little blinder
As it saved the day
If I had my way

Every now and then it seems
We live our lives to such extremes
Racing all around, never homeward bound
Losing what we’ve found but if I had my way
Things would be different
No one would believe that a lie was true
Choices would be clear
And wisdom would be heeded
Warnings never needed
This is what I’d pray
If I had my way

The milk of human kindness
Would seek us out and find us
And color all the words we say

And hearts would come alive
Instead of breaking
No one would believe
That a lie was true
Angels would appear
Children would be cherished
Hope would never perish
Faith would not betray
If I had my way



Kim Scharnberg, orchestrator and arranger extraordinaire and Linda’s long time collaborator and friend, has shared his feelings on being part of this very special evening in Waterbury, Connecticut.

Linda Eder with Kim Scharnberg (right) and Frank Wildhorn
(photo: Mike Kostel)

Monday, January 28 was a very special and important day in Waterbury, CT for many of us. Linda and several other world class singers, actors, musicians and songwriters were featured in "From Broadway With Love"- a benefit concert for Sandy Hook at the Palace Theater. This is just a 15-20 minute drive from the Newtown area. When I originally heard about the concert in a Facebook post, I thought it would be a very nice evening with a small group of local musicians so I bought two tickets. I emailed Linda to see what music might need to be put together and she said she was going to sing "If I Had My Way" with Frank Wildhorn at the piano. Just piano and voice. Well... it turned out that there was a 42 piece orchestra and 50 voice choir that was brought in from NYC, and the evening was more powerful than any of us could've imagined it could be! Linda was the last soloist of the evening- right before the finale and she brought the house down. The song was written after 9/11 with perfect lyrics by Jack Murphy and it was also sadly perfect for this occasion.

Linda and I talked at the break between the rehearsal and the concert and she wasn't sure how she was going to get through the song. She said that this was going to be one of the most difficult performances she'd ever given. The orchestra seating in the theater was completely filled with Newtown families (some who'd lost their loved ones in the tragedy) and first responders- all directly in front of her. I think we all NEEDED this release- where music speaks for us and the sheer artistry of a voice like Linda's can bring hope, maybe a little comfort, and certainly beauty for an evening. I watched as she met with so many fans after the concert- her natural warmth clearly made people happy to be near her. 

I was honored to help put the music for the evening together and have four arrangements played. This career highlight concert was organized by producer Van Dean, director Michael Unger, singer/songwriter Brett Boles, and musical director Jeff Saver. I know all of you wished you were there and there IS a way to see it... there's going to be a DVD for sale to continue support for the United Way fund that is dedicated to this cause. Please buy it and see some of the incredible performances I witnessed that night!

 


 

Andrea Cotton, a long time fan from Connecticut, was lucky enough to attend “From Broadway With Love,” and has generously shared her thoughts with THE VOICE.

The Palace Theater (Photo courtesy of Andrea Cotton)

We knew that it was going to be a special concert when we arrived and were greeted by Newtown volunteers handing out green and white ribbons. The crowd was not the typical concert crowd, as there were a lot of families and young children in the lobby, which reminded us of why we were there.

The two men who conceived the show, Brett Boles and Van Dean, made a short speech of welcome followed by a short welcome from the head of the United Way of Western Connecticut, which is the agency being used to collect funds for Newtown. The show opened with “Seasons of Love.” A full 40 piece orchestra was on stage and the From Broadway With Love Chorus (consisting of many Broadway performers) walked up through the orchestra and went up on stage, placing 26 candles at the front of the stage where they remained throughout the evening.

There was no emcee – instead the performer’s name and song were displayed on a large video screen above the stage. The screen also displayed various scenes of Newtown from time to time. Throughout the evening, there were also video messages recorded by the casts of several Broadway shows and even a message from Ann Hathaway.

The program

Next up was Stephen Schwartz, who introduced himself and performed “Beautiful City” from Godspell, followed by “Defying Gravity,” which was sung by Julia Murney.  That set the tone for the night. Christine Ebersole did a rousing “On the Atchison, Topeka and The Santa Fe.” Janet Metz and Richard Kind added humor with “Funny and The Joke” and then Richard Kind did a wonderful “I Wan’na Be Like You” from The Jungle Book, which clearly had all the kids enthralled. “Old Man River” was next performed by Phillip Boykin, who felt it was important to appear even though his mother had died just 3 days before.

Brett Boles played and sang a beautiful song that he composed for the occasion, “Still,” as two performers danced a beautiful ballet. Mary Testa delivered the comic “When You’re Good to Mama” followed by a Sondheim segment. Michael Cerveris sang “Finishing the Hat” followed by a gorgeous rendition of “Sunday” that included the Newtown High School Chamber Choir. The Choir then performed “Somewhere,” at which point there wasn’t a dry eye in the house! The First Act closed with members of the cast of Sister Act performing “Raise Your Voice,” an upbeat number that sent us off to intermission.

Linda and Frank with some new friends!

Act 2 opened with the overture from Gypsy. Next up was “Just One Person” performed by Sesame Street puppet characters. This number also had some dialogue about overcoming your fears that was directed to the children in the audience, who loved the puppets. The cast of Million Dollar Quartet then did three songs, “Blue Suede Shoes,” “Brown Eyed Handsome Men” and “I Hear You Knockin.”

The women of my generation who loved The Monkees got a special treat when Micky Dolenz appeared to sing “I’m A Believer.” This was followed by two enthusiastic numbers from Hairspray, written by Marc Shaiman, who played the piano. Nikki Blonsky (who played Tracy Turnblad in the movie) sang “Good Morning, Baltimore.” She was joined for the end of the song by several young children, that I presume were from Newtown. Then we were treated to “You Can’t Stop the Beat.” There were 72 Newtown students from various dance organizations that participated and they brought the house down! Things quieted down a bit with “Sing” by Paul Scott Goodman and “The Impossible Dream” by Brian Stokes Mitchell.

Then Frank Wildhorn took to the piano and played “Finding Wonderland” for the great Capathia Jenkins. And they really did save the best for last. Linda then came out and sang a beautiful “If I Had My Way.” She looked great, in a blue silk blouse and short black skirt. I couldn’t help but think of her singing that song after 9-11 and how here we were hearing it to commemorate another tragic event. Linda stayed on stage while all the performers came out and sang “One Voice,” accompanied by students from Sandy Hook Elementary School via the monitor.

The entire night was pure perfection. There was just the right mix of reverence, humor, and entertainment. It was wonderful to see parents and neighbors getting so excited when they saw their child or kids that they knew come out on stage and entertain us along side some of the biggest names on Broadway. The show was about 2 ½ hours but it flowed along beautifully and was a night that I will remember for a long time. And seeing Linda was the icing on the cake! 

The show was taped and I heard that there may be a DVD and/or CD available. If so, I would highly recommend getting it. From Broadway With Love has a Facebook page so you can get more information and hear more about the night on Facebook.

 

 

 

(c)2013 Linda Eder