Roses to Richard C. Wall and all those behind “Broadway Sings for Equality NC,” a benefit for the state’s leading LGBT rights organization, at the United Church of Chapel Hill last weekend.
The audience for Saturday afternoon’s show, the
second of two performances, was small. But those in the bright chapel
with floor-to-ceiling windows saw performances they will surely remember
for years to come.
There was a time when the music of Broadway
was the popular music of its day. Ed Sullivan brought the stars of New
York’s theater district into the nation’s homes, and original cast
recordings were bestsellers.
And if those songs sometimes seemed
larger than life, they spoke to universal longings, even when society
forbid open expressions of love that crossed boundaries of race,
ethnicity or gender.
Today, the best of Broadway still breaks
barriers, and the best of the old retain a timeless relevance. So it was
no surprise, really, when last weekend’s performers sometimes teared up
with the audience. After Evelyn McCauley, Greg Travios and Ryan Widd
sang a blistering “You Don’t Know/I Am the One,” about a family’s
struggle with the wife and mother’s bipolar disorder, director Wall took
a breath for all in the hushed room and said simply, “Powerful stuff.”
close the show, Shelly McVicker, whose version of Rodgers and
Hammerstein’s “Some Enchanted Evening,” had captivated earlier, returned
for a duet with Jeri Lynn Schulke.
McVicker started to sing and then suddenly stopped. Had she forgotten a lyric? She didn’t say.
Wall looked up from the keyboard.
have to say, being the age I am, there was a time you could get killed
for doing this,” he said, as the two women on stage held hands, tears
now welling in Schulke’s eyes.
“That’s why buildings like this
and causes like this are so important,” Wall continued, “because no one
should be denied happiness.”
Bravo to the cast and crew of ‘Broadway Sings.”