WESTFIELD, NJ — Analisa Leaming recently starred as Anna in the Broadway revival of “The King and I” and performed the role of Irene Molloy in the 2017 Broadway revival of “Hello, Dolly!”
On New Year’s Eve, she takes her talents to Westfield in the New Jersey Festival Orchestra’s concert of songs from Broadway musicals. Leaming will be among a series of artists to perform at the orchestra’s performance “Broadway Through the Ages.”
She has learned new music for the show and been rehearsing with the rest of the cast this week as the show approaches, said Leaming, who played a role in the music selection.
“Each of the soloists sent a list of songs they know or would like to explore and then Maestro Wroe worked his magic to create a dynamic program adding in some choices of his own,” Leaming said.
She will join a series of performers for the show including Mezzo-soprano Jessica Ann Best, a diverse cross-disciplinary artist who tours with the gypsy jazz ensemble Velvet Caravan, and who recently appeared as The Stepmother in “Lady Swanwhite” with Opera Tampa.
Also to perform will be actor and singer Jacob Keith Watson, who recently appeared on Broadway as Enoch Snow in the Tony-nominated revival of “Carousel,” as Joseph Buquet/Monsieur Reyer in “The Phantom of the Opera” and as Amos Hart in the National/International tour of “Chicago” the Musical.
“This year’s intergenerational program reads like a Who’s Who of the best of Broadway,” Wroe said in a release. “It’s eclectic, dynamic and a grand retrospective of the some of the choice songs and dances from American musicals. And it’s a great way for a families to kick off their New Year’s Eve together.”
Dance Theatre of Harlem’s Da’von Doane and accompanying performers will recreate the song and dance of MGM musicals.
Stephanie Rae Williams, who is currently in her ninth season with the Dance Theatre of Harlem, will join Doane along with Amanda Smith, who many will was featured in a national campaign for GAP last year.
“People want safe, familiar and uplifting events to bring in the New Year, and the NJ Festival Orchestra has built a tradition of being the place to be on this special night,” NJ Festival Orchestra’s Keith Hertell said in the release. “It also fits perfectly in people’s plans — the 1,000-plus audience either come directly from a dinner, or leave the concert to head off to their final dinner or party of the year. The event is a highlight of the year for our community.”
The performance will also include remarks by Westfield Mayor Shelley Brindle to officially kick off Westfield 300, the year-long initiative planned for 2020 in celebration of the Town’s 300th anniversary, the town announced.
“Westfield is incredibly fortunate to have the New Jersey Festival Orchestra as an important part of our cultural history,” Brindle said in a statement. “Their highly anticipated Dec. 31 concert is the perfect way to kick off Westfield 300 in the community on the eve of this important milestone for the Town. I look forward to celebrating an evening of beautiful music with everyone.”
“The concert is a fabulous opportunity, right here on our Westfield doorstep, for adults to reminisce to songs they all know, for kids to learn more about some of the more exciting characters to grace stage and screen, and for us all to revel in the genius of some of Broadway’s finest composers, vocal performers and dancers,” Wroe said. “And Mayor Brindle’s exciting announcements about Westfield 300 will indeed contribute to the joy of the evening.”
If you go
Tickets range in price from $42 to $70. A special discount price of $15 is available for all under 21, making this event (which starts at 7 p.m. and ends at 9 p.m.) a perfect way for the entire family to welcome in the New Year together.
Tickets are available online at www.njfestivalorchestra.org. Tickets may also be purchased by calling 908-232-9400 or by visiting the office at 224 E. Broad Street, Westfield (10 a.m. — 3 p.m.). Patrons are advised to purchase tickets online to avoid all ticketing and handling fees.