Fri, Jul 09, 2004 - Page 18 News List

Broadway royalprocession rollsinto town

By Diana Freundl  /  STAFF REPORTER

Welly Yang and Judy Kuhn give royal performances in The Kings and Queens of Broadway this weekend at the National Concert Hall.

PHOTO COURTESY OF NTCH

Loyal subjects of musical theater will assemble at CKS this weekend as the "Kings and Queens of Broadway" bring their royal procession to Taiwan. The cast of acclaimed Broadway performers joins the National Symphony Orchestra (國家交響樂團) for two performances beginning tomorrow night at the National Concert Hall.

Leading the entourage is renowned Broadway singer, actor and director Welly Yang (楊呈偉), who first gained recognition on the Broadway circuit for his performance as Thuy in Miss Saigon.

A second generation Taiwanese-American, Yang said he always looks forward to his Taiwan concert dates. "It's kind of like coming home. It means a lot to me to perform for my relatives and parents who live here now," he said in a short telephone interview, during which he spent most of the conversation listing off previous accomplishments of his accompanying performers.

His popularity in Taiwan can be measured at the box office where he has a history of high ticket sales. At the time of writing, less than 200 seats remained for the Saturday and Sunday performances.

Yang is fluent in both Mandarin and Taiwanese, yet all of the material from the concert is in English. The language, he said is sometimes a bit of a challenge for his audience, "But the wonderful thing about music is that there are so many elements at work and you don't need to get every word to appreciate a great song."

Of the cast, Yang said, "We are all old friends and most of us have worked together in the past," and credited them for the show's recent success in Singapore. "This is not just a generic collection of songs and performers. These are the best Broadway performers singing the most beloved songs," he said.

Having toured the country several times in the past, Dina Morishita is a familiar face among Broadway fans in Taiwan, and recognized most for her lead role in Yang's original musical adaptation of the Ang Lee film, The Wedding Banquet.

Young concert goers will identify the voice of Disney's Pocahontas when Judy Kuhn sings the film's title track and several others throughout the show.

The line-up of talented performers is accompanied by Tony-award winning composer Jason Robert Brown, who will lead the NSO for the show. The repertoire includes pieces from Les Miserables, Chicago, Miss Saigon, The Wedding Banquet, and Rent, among others.

"We have tailored an evening of familiar Broadway numbers. We chose popular pieces so most people should know these songs. It's going to be a fun evening," Yang said.

Performance notes:

What: The Kings and Queens of Broadway

Where: National Concert Hall, 21-1 Zhongshan S Rd, Taipei (台北市中山南路21-1)

When: Tomorrow at 7:30pm and Sunday at 2:30pm

Tickets: NT$400 - NT$2,500 available at CKS Cultural Center Box Office

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