Bringing back Broadway

The Best of Broadway (QuidPro Co)

Hayward Street Studios

December 8 – 12

Bringing the very best of musical theatre to life is an ambitious undertaking, given the extent of the repertoire on offer. Thanks to the addition of some magnificent medleys, QuidPro Co’s “The Best of Broadway” takes its audience on quite the whirlwind musical journey of entertainment from golden age standards of the “Guys & Dolls” sort to contemporary classics like Jonathan Larson’s “Rent”.

From the simple cabaret staging of Hayward Street Studios, Henry Kafoa, Kayleigh Marven, Jess Papst and Cristian Robba-Colley, accompanied by Musical Director Dennett Hudson, bring both Broadway bangers and ballads to life with powerhouse vocals, meaning that there is plenty of moments to enjoy within the return season’s evening of musical delights.

Especially in lush ensemble numbers, the vocal quartet shines, with exceptional four-part harmonies. Duets are also memorable, especially Kafoa and Papst’s early ‘Beauty and the Beast’, ballad which showcases Kafoa’s sweet and gentle tones in beautiful share of the tale as old as time’s heart-felt theme song. His stunning vocals are also celebrated as part of the show’s touching tribute to the genius of the recently-passed legendary composer Stephen Sondheim, and while ‘No One is Alone’ / ‘Children Will Listen’ is beautifully performed with the support of a 30-voice youth choir made up of performers from Harvest Rain Talent Academy and the Brisbane Academy of Musical Theatre, it is Kafoa’s bittersweet ‘Being Alive’, infused with operatic intensity, that serves as the segment’s standout.

While duets like Marven and Papst’s ‘I Dreamed a Dream’ / ‘On My Own’ and Marven’s gutsy solo ‘Memory’ darken the tone, there are plenty of light moments too, from a fun Disney medley featuring songs from “The Little Mermaid”, “The Lion King”, “Aladdin”, “Frozen” and “Mary Poppins” and a reminder of the hits of “The Sound of Music”. And Cristian Robba-Colley’s personality-plus vibrancy elevates ‘Heart and Music’ from “A New Brain” to an infectiously joyous place. Indeed, with the audience clapping along, it is easy to appreciate its place as one of his proclaimed favourite numbers. Hudson’s musical medley is also an absolute delight as he vocally and musically journeys us through an assortment of varied Broadway numbers within the space of only three minutes, demonstrating both his vocal versatility and talented musicianship.

As the opening number of reminds us, ‘There’s No Business Like Show Business’ and certainly there is nothing better than coming together to become lost in the joy of music again. As a show that is equal parts engagingly entertaining in its experience and captivating in its showcase of talent, “The Best of Broadway” is certainly the vehicle for this.

Photos c/o – Let Me Wander Photography

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