What: Musical Melodies in the Park
Where: Ardrie Park in Malvern East, Melbourne
When: 11th February, 2017
Keep an eye on Stonnington Council for more free events like this one!
Musical Melodies in the Park is a series of free outdoor concerts presented by Stonnington Council. Broken up into three separate categories over three Saturday nights: Opera on February 4th in Prahran, Broadway on February 11th in Malvern East, and Symphony on February 25th in Malvern. Being a fan of Broadway, I was invited to attend that show. Every year there is a different theme, this year was Leading Ladies of Broadway. Another year it was Hollywood Magic Under The Stars, and the others escape me. There’s free programmes at the information desk as a souvenir so things like this won’t happen again (forgetting, that is).
My friend and I arrived before 7pm to a huge crowd of people. We sat to the side because the park was packed with children, parents, couples and the elderly – some on blankets, others in low chairs or high ones too. Unfortunately this meant that we had a big lighting pole in the way during moments of the show, but it didn’t obstruct our sound so for the most part it was okay. If you want to sit right up close to the front, bring a blanket and get there early as they won’t allow big chairs in the central viewing area. There was also three food trucks (schnitzel, ice cream or coffee/drinks), so not a lot to choose from if you were hungry, but they did have a range of schnitzel options and a vegetarian (not sure about vegan) option with eggplant as well.
Beginning at 7.30pm with Act One, our four leading ladies: Silvie Paladino, Anne Wood, Melissa Langton and Alinta Chidzey took the stage. Between songs the ladies would read some interesting Broadway facts from a binder. They also sat and watched the others perform and provided back up where needed. Anne also doned a black feather bower during her rendition of Little Girls from Annie.
As Act Two began (and a costume change by all the ladies), the sun had gone down and the stage was lit up by candelabras. It was gorgeous. I was told that that was when “the real show started” and boy, no kidding! There was a real peaceful magic in the calmness of the park. At the end of the show, the ladies were given flowers, the band was thanked and they were joined on stage by key features for brief speeches and thank yous.
They company sang some of my favourites, but I always consider this a curse. Very rarely are your favourites the ones you enjoy hearing the most because you’re already in love with the original. So, I Know Him So Well from Chess, I Put A Spell On You from Hocus Pocus and I Am What I Am from La Cage aux Follies just couldn’t live up to the accustomed numbers I am used to/love, although they were done quite well. I really enjoyed how the Hocus Pocus number was thrown into the set list because it’s not traditionally Broadway.
My favourites were Kiss Of The Spiderwoman from Kiss Of The Spiderwoman, Bosom Buddies from Mame and Thank God I’m Old from Barnum, I suppose because I’d never heard them before, but also because they were either emotionally powerful or comedic.
On the way home, my friend and I discussed if the finale song was enough of a “wow” song to end on. We both agreed that it wasn’t the best choice. My friend suggested the company sing Defying Gravity together, but I argued that it takes a certain voice to carry such a heavy song. Not to say that the other performers didn’t have amazing voices, it’s just that not everyone can pull off that song. The stage lighting shown green during Defying Gravity, which was awesome, but wouldn’t it have been cool if she’d flown like in the musical? I know it would have been impossible, but what a way to end the show, ey?!
All up, it was an amazing night – nothing like I’ve ever experienced before! If you ever get the chance, I highly recommend you go. It’s a free event put on every year (weather pending).
- It’s Today, Mame – Silvie, Anne, Melissa and Alinta
- Cabaret, Cabaret – Melissa
- I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Out Of My Hair, South Pacific – Silvie, Alinta and Melissa
- Little Girls, Annie – Anne
- Maybe This Time, Cabaret – Alinta
- I Put A Spell On You, Hocus Pocus – Silvie, Anne, Melissa and Alinta
- Somewhere Over The Rainbow, The Wizard of Oz – Silvie
- Bosom Buddies, Mame – Melissa and Anne
- I’d Give My Life For You, Miss Saigon – Alinta
- Thank God I’m Old, Barnum – Melissa
- Losing My Mind, Follies – Anne
- Don’t Rain On My Parade, Funny Girl – Silvie
- Trolley Song, Meet Me In St Louis – Melissa
- Come Rain Or Come Shine, St Louis Woman – Melissa
- Memory, Cats – Alinta
- Kiss Of The Spiderwoman, Kiss Of The Spiderwoman – Alinta
- I Dreamed A Dream, Les Miserables – Silvie
- How Lucky Can You Get, Funny Lady – Silvie
- Wherever He Ain’t, Mack and Mabel – Anne
- If He Walked Into My Life, Mame – Anne
- I Know Him So Well, Chess – Silvie and Alinta
- My Man, Funny Girl – Alinta
- I Am What I Am, La Cage aux Follies – Melissa
- Could I Leave You, Follies – Anne
- Defying Gravity, Wicked – Silvie
- Happy Days Are Here Again/Get Happy, Chasing Rainbows/Summer Stock – Silvie, Anne, Melissa and Alinta