Sacramento Theatre Company opened its 15 Cabaret production “Music of the Night: The Musicals of Andrew Lloyd Webber” Thursday night to a cheering capacity crowd. The popularity of the STC Cabaret productions combined with the huge popularity of Lloyd Webber has led STC to offer a second weekend the show.
Lloyd Webber, along with his original lyricist Tim Rice, turned concept album concerts into mega hit shows around the world. In his opening remarks, STC producing director Michael Laun spoke about the cast having no shortage of favorite Lloyd Webber songs to the point of being able to do another whole show.
The show runs chronologically from “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” (1968) to “Love Never Dies” (2010), a “Phantom of the Opera” sequel that had a very short run. Not all Lloyd Webber wrote turned to massive hits, and the ensemble cast demonstrates how many of his lesser songs and songs from his more obscure shows can be real treats.
All the ensemble members for “Music of the Night” talk about their lifetime devotion to singing Lloyd Webber’s music from the very well known hits to lesser known numbers from shows that were flops.
Michelle Hillen-Noufer, appearing in her fifth STC Cabaret production, is the only returning ensemble member alongside STC Cabaret founder and producing director Michael Laun. While audiences occasionally get to see her on stage, she spends much of her time as the education director, overseeing the Young Professionals Conservatory and pre-professional ensemble.
It is always great to hear Hilen-Noufer sing, and she does a great job on several big numbers like “I Don’t Know How to Love Him,” “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina” and “Memory,” while also doing a very nice duet with Laun on “Love Changes Everything” and a solo of “Anything but Lonely” from the more obscure “Aspects of Love” (1989).
Ruth Phillips returns to STC after a long absence, nicely performing a pair of songs from “Tell Me on a Sunday,” the follow-up to “Evita,” and a very knowing performance of “With One Look” from “Sunset Boulevard” (1993), Lloyd Webber’s money-losing hit.
The mail voices of the ensemble are filled out by two young men with strong community theater backgrounds and, it seems, childhood devotion to the music of Lloyd Webber. Mark
Ettensohn is best known for his performances at Sutter Street Theatre. He is especially great on “A Night of a Thousand Stars,” (“Evita”) and “Any Dream Will Do” (“Joseph”).
Ettensohn, multiple-Elly Award-nominee Byron Roope heard lots of Lloyd Webber music around home and riding in the car. From his opening solo of “Close Every Door” (“Joseph”) to bringing down the house with “Music of the Night” from “Phantom,” he very much pleased the audience.
An astounding young lady rounds out the ensemble. Meghan Green is in her first year of the Young Professionals Conservatory and, at 13, is already ranked as a National Top Classical Vocalist with Classical Singer and the winner of the Norcal Sings 201 Musical Theatre Division. Green lives up to her credentials, giving a performance far beyond her years
She shines on “Think of Me” (“Phantom”) and “Whistle Down the Wind” from the show of the same name. When Green says she will perform in a major production of “Phantom” someday, you know she means it.
Richanne Roope is the vocal director and pianist along with Joanna Roberts on bass.
Jerry Lee directs (while continuing to appear in “Forbidden Broadway”) with more choreography than previous STC Cabarets.
With a revival of "Evita" with Ricky Martin on Broadway, "Aspects of Love " revival at London’s West End, and a television production of the "Wizard of Oz" in production, Andrew Lloyd Webber is as hot as ever. “Music of the Night” mixes the popularity of the STC Cabaret with the music of the mega popular musical composer who has teamed up with some of the best lyricists of the day. It was so popular that you will have to wait until next weekend to get a seat.
“Music of the Night” Sacramento Theatre Company Cabaret
Saturday April 14 2:00 pm 8:00 pm Sunday April 15 2:00 pm
Editor’s note: Edits have been made to this article after publishing.