Posted on November 8, 2008 at 7:56 am
Alec Harvey’s column here.
Jason Robert Brown wows ’em again at Red Mountain Theatre Company
Posted by Alec Harvey, The Birmingham News
November 07, 2008 10:44 PM
Jason Robert Brown
Red Mountain Theatre Company Cabaret
Performs again Saturday, Nov. 8, at 7:30 p.m.
Review gets five stars out of five
The amazing thing about seeing Jason Robert Brown in concert is that his music is the least of it.
His stirring, Tony Award-winning score from Parade, his hard-driving pop songs laced with humor, his soul-searching ballads, his songs from the current Broadway musical 13 — they all show a young composer at the top of his game.
But throw into the mix an ingratiating stage presence backed up by a great voice and sometimes breathtaking piano playing, and you’ve got yourself an extraordinary evening of entertainment.
As he did two years ago, Brown took the Red Mountain Theatre Company stage by storm at 7:30 Friday night, and he didn’t let go until leaving nearly two-and-a-half hours later.
Even some slight vocal problems didn’t get in his way. He charmed his way through a frog in his throat, and by the end of the night was singing full throttle.
Brown and his band filled the evening with songs from his solo album, “Wearing Someone Else’s Clothes,” and, of course, his shows: Parade, The Last Five Years, Songs for a New World, 13, even Urban Cowboy: The Musical.
Unlike some other contemporary theater composers, his songs translate nicely to the concert stage. They have a pop bent to them and often can stand on their own outside of the shows they’re meant for.
Brown shared the stage at times with talented singers from the RMTC Youth programs, most notably with the segments from 13, his bouncy Broadway show about 13-year-old Evan, whose parents’ divorce takes him from New York to Indiana, where he has no friends and is about to celebrate his bar mitzvah. The kids were terrific, and what a great opportunity they had to sing on stage with the man who wrote the music.
The night, though, belonged to Brown. He’s a singular talent whose quick wit, lively banter and stirring piano work separate him from the rest of the pack.
Oh, and his music is pretty good, too.