Broadway's dueling 'Divas'
If you look up the word "diva" in the dictionary, it means a "highly-distinguished female singer; derived from the Italian word for "a goddess."
Goddesses will abound on the Allentown Symphony Hall stage at 8 p.m. Sept. 15 as we feature two very "Wicked Divas" singing your favorite Broadway hit songs.
Singing with attitude and bravura has been a part of the "Diva" tradition for centuries. I remember going to pick up an opera singer from the airport once and although I didn't really know what she was going to look like (often press photos are out of date), I knew that I would recognize her because of her "Diva-like" presence and attitude.
Whether singing opera arias or Broadway songs, female lead singers are a force to be reckoned with, and that is what makes them so much fun to watch and listen to. They also tend to get some of the best songs to sing in the show songs that stick with you and that you want to sing yourself as you leave the theater.
Our "Wicked Divas" will, of course, have to perform some songs from the Broadway hit musical, "Wicked."
Alli Mauzey, one of our featured guest singers, recently starred as Glinda in the San Francisco company of "Wicked." Before that, she starred as Glinda in "Wicked" on Broadway.
Dee Roscioli, our other featured performer, is known for her portrayal of Elphaba in "Wicked," and also holds the distinction of having performed Elphaba in more performances than any other actress.
Roscioli, by the way, is a Lehigh Valley native and graduate of Wilson Area High School and DeSales University. She performed the lead role of Mrs. Lovett in "Sweeney Todd" to rave reviews this past summer at the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival.
She has performed Grizabella in the national tour of "Cats," and did a solo show to a sold-out audience at Birdland in New York City, as well as in Chicago.
With the Allentown Symphony, these two artists will perform "Defying Gravity," "For Good" and "Popular," all from "Wicked."
Other famous "diva" songs that will be featured in the concert are "I Could Have Danced All Night" from "My Fair Lady"; "Think of Me" from "The Phantom of the Opera"; "My Heart Will Go On" from "Titanic"; "Diva's Lament" from "Spamalot"; and "Over the Rainbow" from "The Wizard of Oz."
These are all some of my favorite melodies. They are songs that transcend time and place.
I can't think of a better way to spend an evening than listening to these wonderful melodies, sung by these two great Broadway divas, and accompanied by the beautiful sounds of the Allentown Symphony Orchestra.
The "Wicked Divas" concert will be conducted by the Associate Conductor of the Allentown Symphony, Ronald Demkee, who is also the conductor of the Allentown Band.
It will be a concert everyone in the in the family can enjoy.
Diane Wittry is Music Director and Conductor of the Allentown Symphony and Artistic Director (USA) of the International Cultural Exchange Program with the Sarajevo Philharmonic, Bosnia.
ASO concert ticket information: 610-432-6715, www.AllentownSymphony.org