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'Three Phantoms' a delight

Oct. 29, 2011

Fans of Broadway were treated to an evening’s entertainment Saturday as the Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra presented "The Three Phantoms in Concert."

Much to the audience's delight, tenors Brad Little, Craig Schulman, and Ted Keegan soared with the orchestra in musical selections taken from several of Broadway’s most popular shows.

To set the tone for the evening, the orchestra opened with the familiar "In the Hall of the Mountain King" from Grieg's "Peer Gynt," and followed that with a medley of pieces from "Jesus Christ Superstar." The size of the orchestra was downsized for the show with fewer winds and brass, creating the ideal sound for accompanying the lighter fare that was programmed.

The "Three Phantoms" acquired their name from the fact that all three singers have performed the title role in Andrew Lloyd-Webber's "Phantom of the Opera." During the show, they performed several solo pieces, in addition to other tunes as a trio.

Their combined talents came to the fore in "Fugue for Three Tinhorns" from "Guys and Dolls," "Brush Up Your Shakespeare" from "Kiss Me Kate," "The Call the Wind Maria" from "Paint your Wagon," "Brotherhood Of Man" from "How to Succeed in Business," "Standing on the Corner" from "Most Happy Fella," and finally, and most expected, a "shared" performance of "Music of the Night" from "Phantom of the Opera."

Brad Little sang "Begin the Beguine" from "Jubilee," "The Sara Lee Song" from "And the World Goes Round," "If Ever I Should Leave You" from "Camelot," and was joined by Craig Schulman for a rendition of "Lily's Eyes" from "Secret Garden." Both singers exemplified clarity and control.

Schulman’s solo selections included "Being Alive" from "Company," "This is the Moment” from "Jekyll & Hyde," "To Dream the Impossible Dream" from "Man of La Mancha," and "Bring Him Home" from "Les Miserables."

Ted Keegan's talents were clearly displayed in his solo selections as well, "Where is the Life?" also from "Kiss Me Kate," and "Guido's Song" from "Nine."

If there was one complaint, it was in the over amplification of the voices. At times, especially with the trio was singing, the orchestra was overpowered. When you have the professional talent that was on stage, there was no need for excessive volume.

The orchestra performed two works on their own in the second half. Selections from "Les Miserables" and from "The Phantom of the Opera" helped make this production "off" Broadway most enjoyable.

- James Chaudoir

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