‘Neil Berg’s 100 Years of Broadway’ on stage at Westchester Broadway TheatrePublished: Wednesday, December 27, 2017 By: Linda Tuccio-Koonz Source: CT Post
People don’t always know what to expect when they come to see “Neil Berg’s 100 Years of Broadway.” But Berg said they’re “quickly blown away when they realize these are the actual Broadway stars of the show, not just some singers singing show tunes.”
Sure, he has to tweak the production at times, depending on who is available, but that just keeps it interesting.
“All of our performers have starred in some of the most famous Broadway musicals in history, and we always base the song list on the specific performers we use,” he said via email.
Berg said the audience will hear songs from such shows as “Phantom of the Opera,” “Les Miserables,” “South Pacific,” “Fiddler on the Roof” and more.
“(The artists) don’t just sing, they inhabit the roles/songs. ... Audiences also love the incredible musicians, and especially the personal stories each performer brings to each song and the historical stories that give the show a storyline and context.”
“Neil Berg’s 100 Years of Broadway” comes to Westchester Broadway Theatre for five shows, Thursday, Dec. 28, through Sunday, Dec. 31, with a New Year’s celebration on the final night.
“When I’m not there, the performers are master storytellers and have wonderful stories to share. When I am present, like on Dec. 30, I become the host, pianist, chief storyteller and biggest fan of these performers.
“As a composer/producer in New York theater circles, I have the privilege of having personal connections to current Broadway composers like Stephen Schwartz, Frank Wildhorn, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Bob Gaudio, etc. ... and tell interesting behind-the-scenes stories about their shows/songs.”
Berg may also talk about such things as “how and why Rodgers & Hammerstein ended up working together, or how and why ‘Wicked’ eventually came to be.”
After 15 years, he has a good sense of what folks want to hear. And sometimes, he introduces a tune from one of his own shows; Berg has many hits to his name. He’s the composer/lyricist of the off-Broadway musical, “The Prince and the Pauper,” composer/co-lyricist of the award-winning rock musical, “The Twelve,” and composer of “Grumpy Old Men: The Musical,” based on the popular film — just to name a few.
“After having the audience listen to me talk about Broadway musicals during the entire show, I think it’s kind of cool for (them) to finally see and hear one of my songs, almost like ‘Hey, this guy talks a good game, now let’s see how good this guy really is.’ LOL”