Absolutely Idol
Andrew’s young talent takes on the Broadway hits

Comparisons between Absolutely Andrew: A Musical Tribute to Andrew Lloyd Webber and American Idol are hard to resist. One of the shows ensemble performers, Quiana Parler, was an American Idol contestant, and producer and emcee Lawson Roberts hosts the show as musical theatre’s answer to Ryan Seacrest. But the more notable similarities come from Roberts’ strong collection of young talent who sing many of Broadway’s most recognizable and beloved songs. Broadway fans will get everything they could want, while others get a good primer on Webber’s magic.

Parler provides charismatic charm, as does Daniel Gutman, whose buoyant energy in Cats’ “Mr. Mistofolees” and the title song of Jesus Christ Superstar provide the most unexpected gems of the evening. But the best numbers come right where you’d expect them: the music of Webber’s most recognizable work, The Phantom of the Opera.

Meloni Mathius and Benjamin Lee provide stellar renditions of “Think of Me,” “All I Ask of You,” and “The Music of the Night.” Mathius also provides a haunting performance of “Pie Jesu” from Webber’s Requiem.

The 10-person orchestra solidly accompanies the singers, though the horn section steps on a toe here and there. The lighting, though random at first, finds its footing in the second act where the songs are more subdued. Roberts suitably entertains as the host, though more context may help frame some of the songs for the uninitiated or those with only a passing familiarity of the most popular shows.

But Broadway fans will tap their feet and swoon at all the right moments and leave wishing for more, surely heading homoe to pull out their Broadway soundtracks and continue the show.

Absolutely Andrew: A Tribute to Andrew Lloyd Webber • Piccolo Spoleto’s Theatre Series • $25 • May 26-31, June 1-2 at 7 p.m.; May 27, June 2-3 at 2 p.m. • Charleston Music Hall, 37 John St. • 554-6060

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