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Bay Concert Band Plans Concert in Central High Auditorium

"Shows that Raised an Eyebrow"

February 23, 2017       Leave a Comment
By: Stephen Kent

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On Tuesday, February 28 at 7:30 pm in the Auditorium at Bay City Central High School, the Bay Concert Band will perform the winter concert of its 40th season. This concert is the 5th of the "From Stage and Screen" series produced under the direction of Music and Artistic Director, Pete Makar Jr. IV.

This year's program, subtitled "Shows that Raised an Eye Brow", focuses on Musicals that in one way or another, raised some questions from critics and audiences about the material being portrayed on stage. The program includes music from: Carousel, Chicago, Jesus Christ Superstar, the opera Carmen and other great Broadway shows.

Carousel is the second collaboration of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II and was warmly received by audiences and most critics after its April 1945 opening. As time went on and values started to change the musical started to be observed differently. Critic Michael Billington has commented: "lyrically, Carousel comes perilously close to acceptance of the inevitability of domestic violence." Regardless of the reviews and attitudes of the time, Carosel remains Richard Rodgers' personal favorite of all the musicals he wrote.

The musical Chicago is based on a play by Maurine Dallas Watkins a reporter for the Chicago Tribune who in the mid-twenties was assigned to cover two sensational court cases. Needless to say, these cases involved two women who were charged with murder. The trials lived up to their billings and Watkin's wrote a play based on her trial coverage. The play was so well received that it made it to Broadway for 172 performances in 1926.

The story of Chicago seemed to end after that first run. Then, in 1975, John Kanter and Fred Ebb collaborated to create the show audiences know today. The musical is a satire on the criminal justice system in Chicago in the twenties. Chicago also presents the idea of "celebrity criminals" who can exert power over certain people who and are "star-struck" by their notoriety.

Through remakes and revivals, Chicago has become one of the longest running shows on Broadway as well as providing a platform for many great actors to showcase their talents. Jerry Orbach was the original Billy Flynn. Other stars include Liza Minnelli, Joel Gray, Patrick Swayze, Bebe Neuwirth, Brooke Shields, Christie Brinkley.

In 1970 Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice created a musical about the last days of Christ. Originally conceived as a "rock opera", Jesus Christ Superstar made its Broadway debut in 1971 with a pit orchestra and received mixed reviews at best. The musical, with no spoken dialogue, is a story is loosely based on the Gospels' accounts of the last week of Jesus's life ending with the crucifixion. Over time the reduced pit "rock version" has become very popular especially with community theater groups and proves to be very well received.

Carmen is an opera in four acts by French composer Georges Bizet. The libretto is based on a novella of the same title by Prosper Mérimée. Carmen was first performed in Paris in March of 1875, where it's breaking of accords shocked and scandalized the audiences. Bizet suddenly died after the 33rd performance, unaware of the greatness and popularity the work would achieve.

Tuesday, February 28 promises to be a great night of great music at Bay City Central's Auditorium. The music starts at 7:30 pm and doors will open at 7:00 pm. The cost of admission is $5. Students sixth grade and under are admitted free.


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Stephen Kent

Steve Kent and his family have lived in Bay City for 40 years. He is VP of Technical Services at MMCC which produces MyBayCity.Com. Kent is active in many Bay City civic organizations.

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