Six talented Montgomery alumni gave a show to remember Monday night at the Jackson Theater in Santa Rosa. In the musical gala “Vikings Raid Broadway,” they showed how much they have grown as singers and musicians. Even better, they did so to benefit 10 current Viking drama students for a trip to Scotland’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival next August.
The young man who made the evening shine brighter was Paul Staroba, a 2001 grad and currently the associate conductor of two Broadway shows, “A Little Night Music” and “Next to Normal.” Paul was the conductor of this train, accompanying each number and adding his own performances of show music. It was a delight to watch him play, and he took us to places both familiar and new, evoking beauty, sauciness, heartbreak and longing. The audience rewarded him with his own standing ovation, something fitting for one who spends most of his career offstage making the music happen.
With Staroba’s backing, the five singers wowed the audience with their selections, including some previously sung for school or local community theater productions. I particularly enjoyed such solos as “People” (Funny Girl), “Still Hurting” (The Last Five Years) and “I’m Coming Out of My Shell” (A Year With Frog and Toad), plus the ensemble efforts of “We Can Do It” (The Producers), “Sue Me” (Guys and Dolls) and “Ya Got Trouble” (Music Man).
All six seemed to be doing what they loved, and their performances helped a new group of students get the chance to tell some stories on a bigger stage. Bravo!
– Robert Digitale