Week 2 of NYC’s free lunchtime concert series ‘Broadway in Bryant Park’ sizzled

The only thing steamier than the weather on Thursday in New York, when the temperature soared into the 90s, was Broadway in Bryant Park. Now in its 23rd year, the free outdoor lunchtime concert series, presented by 106.7 LITE FM radio, offers theater-lovers a selection of songs from some of the hottest musicals of the season. This week featured 106.7 LITE FM host Rich Kaminski, with co-host Elijah Rhea Johnson – the new star of MJ The Musical, who treated fans to a few of Michael Jackson’s iconic moves – introducing a pre-show performance from Off-Broadway’s Titanique, followed by favorites from the Broadway productions of Chicago, A Beautiful Noise: The Neil Diamond Musical, SIX: The Musical, and Moulin Rouge! The Musical.

Elijah Rhea Johnson. Photo by Deb Miller.

Opening the show were “If You Asked Me To” and “My Heart Will Go On” by stars Nicole Parker, Constantine Rousouli, and Lindsay Heather Pearce from the hilarious Titanique, a spot-on musical parody of the movie Titanic and singer Celine Dion, now playing an extended run at the Daryl Roth Theatre.

Constantine Rousouli, Nicole Parker, and Lindsay Heather Pearce. Photo by Deb Miller.
Constantine Rousouli. Photo by Deb Miller.
Nicole Parker. Photo by Deb Miller.

They were followed by Nick Fradiani leading the Broadway cast of A Beautiful Noise (Kalonjee Gallimore, Samantha Gershman, Makai Hernandez, Tatiana Lofton, and Robert Pendilla) on three Neil Diamond hits – “Cracklin’ Rosie,” “Cherry, Cherry,” and “Sweet Caroline,” to which the crowd enthusiastically sang and hand-pumped along to the lyrics “so good, so good, so good!” The production, which served as one of the sponsors of this week’s concert, also provided a glittering off-stage photo opp for fans of the show.

Nick Fradiani. Photo by Deb Miller.
The cast of A Beautiful Noise. Photo by Deb Miller.
Photo by Deb Miller.

The queens of SIX (Hailee Kaleem Wright, Leandra Ellis-Gaston, Bella Coppola, Holli’ Conway, Zoe Jensen, and Taylor Iman Jones) then took to the stage with “No Way,” “A Medley of ‘Ex-Wives’,” and the title song “Six!,” as post-modern embodiments of the 16th-century spouses of Henry VIII.

Hailee Kaleem Wright and the cast of SIX. Photo by Deb Miller.
The cast of SIX. Photo by Ray Costello.
The cast of SIX. Photo by Deb Miller.

After that, the cast of Chicago – by the legendary John Kander and Fred Ebb, with signature choreography by the master Bob Fosse, and now, deservedly, the longest running show on Broadway – delivered blockbuster performances of “All That Jazz,” “When You’re Good to Mama,” and “Me and My Baby,” featuring Kimberly Marable, Jennifer Fouché, and Jessica Ernest.

Kimberly Marable and the cast of Chicago. Photo by Deb Miller.
The cast of Chicago. Photo by Deb Miller.
The cast of Chicago. Photo by Deb Miller.
The cast of Chicago. Photo by Deb Miller.
The cast of Chicago. Photo by Deb Miller.
Jennifer Fouché. Photo by Ray Costello.
Jessica Ernest and members of the cast. Photo by Ray Costello.

This week’s show concluded with performances of “Lady Marmalade,” “Chandelier,” and the “Elephant Love Medley” by the cast of Moulin Rouge! – Sarah Bowden, EJ Hamilton, Heather Makalani, David Merino, Ricky Rojas, André Ward, and Eric Anderson, led by John Cardoza and Courtney Reed, presently starring in the touring production in Philadelphia, after which Reed will assume the lead role of Satine on Broadway.

The cast of Moulin Rouge! Photo by Deb Miller.
John Cardoza and Courtney Reed. Photo by Deb Miller.

The 2023 season of Broadway in Bryant Park continues next Thursday, July 20, with 106.7 LITE FM host Delilah, a pre-show peek at How to Dance in Ohio, and Disney on Broadway as the main event, with performances by the casts of Aladdin, Frozen, and The Lion King. The series closes on Thursday, July 27, with 106.7 LITE FM’s Cubby & Christine hosting a pre-show of songs from Off-Broadway’s Little Shop of Horrors, followed by numbers from the Broadway musicals & Juliet, Back To The Future, New York, New York, and Shucked, performed by members of the casts.

If you’re not sure which Broadway show you’d like to see next, or if you want to revisit the musicals that you already saw and loved, grab a lunch and head over to this year’s final two installments of Broadway in Bryant Park.

Running Time: One hour, without intermission.

Broadway in Bryant Park plays on Thursday July 20 and 27, 2023, 12:30-1:30 pm (with the lawn opening and rehearsals beginning at 11 am), in Bryant Park, between Fifth and Sixth Avenues, 40th-42nd Street, NYC. All performances are free and open to the public; no tickets are needed. Masks are not required but are recommended.


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