“I think they heard him in New Jersey,” joked Stacia Teele, the emcee at Monday’s fifth annual “Night of Stars.” Broadway actor Roosevelt Credit’s impossibly loud voice had just reverberating through the halls of the Upper West Side’s Computer School, a small public school with a curricular focus on technology, during a star-studded musical event to benefit their music programs.
After a “jazz mocktail hour,” during which the school’s small band played numbers by Count Basie and the Beatles, Mr. Credit and five other Broadway stars took the stage to perform a series of solos and duets.
Rita Harvey, who has starred in Broadway renditions of Fiddler on the Roof and Phantom of the Opera, wowed with performances of “Think of Me” and “For Good,” the latter in a duet with Dee Roscioli, who is the longest-performing Elphaba in North America. Ms. Harvey also performed at last year’s event, and said she initially got involved because she is close with some parents of children that attend the school. “We all feel strongly that we should keep music a part of our schools,” she said.
Ms. Roscioli, who later belted another tune from Wicked, “The Wizard and I,” traveled all the way from Pennsylvania, where she is in final rehearsals for the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival’s upcoming rendition of Sweeney Todd. She is not the only actor to go out of the way to perform at the event. Juliette Trafton had to rush away after flawlessly performing “Imagine My Surprise,” “Bill” and “On My Own” to star as Luisa in the Fantasticks.
Brigid Brady and Natalie Toro also performed at the event. Ms. Toro’s performance of “I Dreamed a Dream” was probably one of the most arresting moments of the night, and she inspired fits of giggles from the audience as she sang lines complaining about Britney Spears in her version of Spamalot’s “Diva’s Lament (Whatever Happened to My Part?).”
Mr. Credit performed only one night after winning a Tony for Best Revival of a Musical as a cast member of Porgy and Bess, an award he said the cast was not expecting to win. “It looked very serious, like we weren’t going to get it, because of the way things were falling,” he said.
But fate favored the talented cast Sunday night. “Oh my gosh, it was amazing,” he said. His cheerful demeanor carried over to his performance last night. Between booming laughs, Mr. Credit enticed the school’s principal, Henry Zymeck, onto the stage and proceeded to sing “Your Feet’s Too Big” from Ain’t Misbehavin’ much to the audience’s delight. Later in the night, Mr. Zymeck took the stage of his own volition to perform “Let It Be.”
While many of the children in the audience may have not recognized the names of each of the performers, they certainly appreciated their impeccable talent. The exuberant audience awarded many of the acts with standing ovations, including the final number, where the Broadway beloveds performed Rent’s “Seasons of Love” alongside a group of middle schoolers who hope to join the school’s chorus when it officially forms next year.
These young performers, along with those in the small jazz band, were the real stars of the evening. The music program began around 6 years ago with only 10 or so participants, said Sara Sloves, the music program administrator. Now, the after-school program hosts between 30 and 40 young musicians.
“We want to encourage them to grow as artists,” Ms. Teele said during the event. “Someday, they’re going to be playing in amazing theatres all over the world.”
Follow Margaret Nickens via RSS.