Megan Hilty and New Jersey Symphony Orchestra
Valentine’s Day with Megan Hilty and the NJSO
NJPAC, Newark, NJ, February 13, 2016
Reviewed by Ron Forman for Cabaret Scenes
The New Jersey Performing Arts Center is a beautiful and comfortable venue to see and listen to a large symphony orchestra. The extremely talented Megan Hilty joined the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra for a Valentine’s Day evening of some of the best love songs, chosen from Broadway and Hollywood. Hilty’s voice was strong enough to transcend the orchestra, but never appeared to be straining, and it blended wonderfully with the luxurious sound of the orchestra.
The show opened with the orchestra, led by Todd Ellison, performing an overture that began with “That’s Entertainment” and ended with “There’s No Business Like Show Business.” It then performed “Moon River,” “Tara’s Theme” from Gone with the Wind and Ennio Morricone’s haunting “Deborah’s Theme” from Once Upon a Time in America. Hilty entered, looking stunning in a gold gown, and opened her first set with a rousing “Come Rain or Come Shine.” Before singing a medley of “Almost Like Being in Love” and “This Can’t Be Love,” she then told the story of meeting and falling in love with her husband. She closed Act I, amidst cheers from the audience, by performing all of the choruses to “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend.”
Act II opened with the orchestra’s medley from My Fair Lady, followed by a another medley, this one from Wicked, in which Hilty starred for more than four years. She reappeared in a gorgeous red gown and began with an up-tempo “April in Paris.” She then displayed her lovely soprano in her touching performance of “Tenderly.” Hilty, who had portrayed an actress portraying Marilyn Monroe in the television series Smash, closed with “Movin’ the Line,” a song written for that series. Her encore was a movingly sung “Count Your Blessings (Instead of Sheep).”