Musicals: Love ’em or hate ’em. There seems to be no in-between. I happen to love them. So when offered free ticket to see the Broadway Now and Forever show at the American Music Theater in Lancaster, I leapt at the chance. The show, featuring 37 songs from 17 Broadway shows, didn’t disappoint.
There is no story line for the show, which made for many costume and character changes for the actors who took part. For each number, though, these professional singers and dancers managed to embody the persona of the drama they appeared out of. For instance, Julie Keough went from playing Elphaba (the future Wicked Witch of the West) from Wicked in green face paint to the title role from Evita, singing the poignant “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina,” one of my favorites.
The costumes were wonderful and the scene changes (for instance, from Mamma Mia to The Lion King) were handled creatively. Watching Mary Poppins fly 150 feet across the auditorium was a highlight. I only wish Spiderman had arrived through the air via the same contraption! The 10-piece orchestra did an amazing job, setting the mood and tempo for every tale.
I was surprised to discover how many musicals I haven’t seen, including The Producers and Billy Elliot. The captivating snippets of song enticed me to put several on my to-be-seen list.
I had never been in the American Music Theater (AMT) before and it is gorgeous. The lobby is stately, with clean, large bathrooms, something any woman can appreciate! The seating area has extra wide rows so you’re not stepping on top of each other getting in, and each seat has a cup holder if you want to fill up at the concession stand.
AMT does two runs of original shows a year. One, like Broadway Now and Forever, runs from spring to fall (until October 12 for this show). The other is a Christmas show, running November through December. Throughout the year they host a variety of musical and comedy acts. Coming up in the near future are Tim Conway, Martina McBride and Three Dog Night. Yes, “variety” is a good descriptor!
The Broadway Now and Forever show at AMT reminded me that music matters. It relaxes us, brings us joy, connects us to our emotions. Some of the AMT musicians, because they know music’s value, support nonprofits that ensure music reaches all people. Music for Everyone is a Lancaster nonprofit that provides grants and talent to help schools provide music instruction. They offer concerts and sponsor Keys for the City, which puts custom-decorated pianos on the city streets for everyone to play.
How will you add music to your life? A visit to the American Music Theater is a worthy investment in personal harmony. So is helping bring music to your neighborhood nonprofit. Enjoy the melody.