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Broadway Veterans Join Kentucky Symphony for Songs of Musical Titans

“Battle of Broadway” closes the Kentucky Symphony Orchestra season on May 13, and the contenders are heavyweights: the songs of Stephen Sondheim and Andrew Lloyd Webber. 

In the center ring: local Broadway veterans Jessica Hendy and Pam Myers (Tony nominee for the legendary original production of Company)! The KSO intended to put this classiest of acts center stage at Devou Park in summer 2015, but the concert was rained out.

Along with singing more than 20 songs by the composers, the leading ladies will tell Great White Way anecdotes and offer selections from Sondheim shows like CompanySweeney ToddA Little Night MusicFollies, and Webber hits like Jesus Christ SuperstarEvitaCatsPhantom of the Opera, and more.

KSO music director J.R. Cassidy previews one story: “Pam was fresh out of CCM (College-Conservatory of Music at University of Cincinnati), landed in New York and in the cast of Sondheim’s Company. Mesmerized by the pace of the big city, Pam’s description of her encounters on the subway was immortalized in the song written for her by Stephen – ‘Another Hundred People.’” See her singing it here.

In fact it could be argued that CCM’s musical theater degree was created for her – she was the first graduate of the program.

“I’m not singing any Webber!,” the ever-effervescent Myers kind of complains. You couldn’t ask for a better representative for Sondheim. Myers starred in Gypsy and Sweeney Todd at Playhouse in the Park and on Broadway in the original cast of Company (1970) and the revival of Into the Woods.

Myers will reprise showstoppers “Another Hundred People,” and “Everything’s Coming up Roses” from Gypsy, and several more, including “Send in the Clowns” from A Little Night Music

She’ll share a duet with Hendy, orchestrated by Terry LaBolt, longtime on faculty at College-Conservatory of Music and now at Indiana University.

The thing is, Myers explains, “The concert was getting really long. There are so many 11 o’clock numbers.” (That’s roof-raising hits, in showbiz speak). 

Hendy, whose performance as glamour cat Grizabella in the national tour of Cats led to a Broadway run, will sing favorites, including “Memory,” from long-running Webber hits including Cats, Evita, and Phantom of the Opera

Battle of Broadway: Sondheim vs Webber, Kentucky Symphony Orchestra, 7:30 p.m. Greaves Concert Hall, Fine Arts Center, Northern Kentucky University, Highland Heights. Tickets $19-$35, students and children 18 and under half-price. ($1.50 handling free plus credit card fees.) Reservations and informationInformation: 859-431-6216 and www.kyso.org.

-Jackie Demaline, RCN Arts