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Best Ever Broadway Comes to Anaheim
Shannon Cudd teams up to sing
Coming off the end of a formidable heat wave in early September the evening of this year's Broadway Comes to Anaheim was a gentle, velvety night under the stars in the grounds of Fox Pointe Manor - the home of philanthropists Dr. Howie and Linda Knohl.
Spread over the expansive lawn the open stage faced a front section of bistro tables for the VIPs who had paid for the dinner beforehand, behind which were curved rows of chairs for everyone else. But there was not a bad seat in the house. With effective lighting and good amplification everyone could see and hear perfectly.
The organizers employed the same format as last year - a band, voice-over introductions, and a succession of Broadway singers. You had to be quite well informed about Broadway to appreciate the names and shows in which the "stars" had appeared, but the program contained ample biographical material to help you out. And even if you didn't read the program the vocalists were of such a high caliber that you simply reveled in the exquisite experience.
From the audience point of view it was fun to hear a succession of singers; but from the performer's angle it may have been somewhat unsatisfactory to travel however far it was only to sing one song! Well, all right, they did all come on stage at the end to sing the theme song from Hairspray, re-written to replace Baltimore with Anaheim. And they did have cake and champagne afterwards at the cast party.
In reality the eyes of the arts community are more on the progress APACF is making towards its goal of building a state of the art performing arts center in downtown Anaheim. Ever since the publication of the Cultural Arts Plan in the year 2000 speculation has centered on who can put together a plan to turn the now vacant and dysfunctional Heritage Forum into such a performance facility. Will it be APACF, or some other entity? What we now know is that not only does APACF have architectural drawings, but it also has a business plan to press ahead. This lifts the credibility of the project to the level where investors, the business community and the City of Anaheim will give greater far attention to the foundation.
Shelley Sherman, Linda Knohl and Autumn Browne enjoy a joke during the opportunity drawing.
Back to the Show
With a line-up of some 18 singers it’s impossible to mention them all. Ronn Goswick , the Producer, assembled the cast. The Director, Calvin Remsburg, gave us a rare treat just before the intermission. Sitting on the edge of the stage his rich baritone voice soared up into the sky with a song from Brigadoon.
I remember Shannon Cudd as a high school student singing in the musical Shoe, written and scored by local play writer Chuck verBurg. Shannon is now in the new Broadway bound production of The Boy From New York CIty. She received her BA in Theatre from Chapman University.
Valerie Pettiford and Linda Purl were amongst a bevvy of fine female vocalists; but I think my favorite male singer, apart from Calvin Remsburg, was Matt Zarley. He wandered on stage looking for all the world looking like a golf caddie then delivered a glorious medley of well-known songs.
Matt Zarley - delightful medley.
A delighted Linda Knohl bounced up to the event co-chairs, Autumn Browne and Shelley Sherman and proudly told them this was the best run event APACF had ever had!
Ready for the VIP dinner.
"Broadway Comes to Anaheim" Starred:
Eric Anthony, Bradley Baker, Shannon Cudd, Chad Doreck, Julie Garnye, Darrin Glesser, Danny Gurwin, Arielle Jacobs, Kasi Jones, Lexi Lawson, Tatiana Mac. Jeffrey Scott Parsons, Valarie Pettiford, Linda Purl, Jennifer Shelton, Rex Smith, Anneliese van der Pol, Matt Zarley.
The Broadway Comes to Anaheim Band
Ron Abel led the group of very talented musicians.
Marco Meneghin – Drums; Justin Smith – Guitar; Carter B. Wallace - Bass
Technical Supervisor Stage Manager
Tim Jones, Morgan Zupanski
Photos Michael Buss