An Evening of Andrew Lloyd Webber

An Evening of Andrew Lloyd Webber

Scottsdale Musical Theater at the Scottsdale Plaza Resort,
Scottsdale, AZ, May 8, 2021

Reviewed by Lynn Timmons Edwards

Hector Coris

After a successful run in March and April with songs of Rodgers and Hammerstein, producer David Hock has returned for another two months of Saturday nights at the Scottsdale Plaza Resort with the songs of Andrew Lloyd Webber. He transformed a hotel ballroom into an intimate cabaret with tables and chairs and bar service, and the cast of eight moves across a slightly raised stage with theatrical lighting, accompanied by piano and percussion.

The cast includes Nicole Bond, Taylor Hogan, Matt Newhard, Estrella Paloma Para, Zack Wells, Elizabeth Blair, Christopher Gonzalez, and Hector Coris (pictured). Producer Hock chose to limit the singer patter to make sure his audience hears one song after another.  With a few exceptions, the cast was attractively clad in black and gold, a good look for the evening. Returning cast members Bond, Hogan, Newhard, and Paloma Para excelled with the Lloyd Webber music. Bond turned in a first-rate performance of “With One Look” from Sunset Boulevard, capturing the madness that is inherent in the character. As the cast’s high soprano, she opened the show with “Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again” from The Phantom of the Opera (lyrics by Charles Hart), showing her range and dynamics. We did not see a lot of Newhard until the 11th hour when he delivered one of the best renditions of “Music of the Night” I have ever heard on a local stage. He and Hogan recreated their Julie/Billy Carousel chemistry with the duet “Whistle Down the Wind,” a little-known song from Lloyd Webber’s 1996 musical of the same name with lyrics by Jim Steinman. Hogan is the consummate ingenue, probably much older than she appears physically and vocally. That worked for her on her solo “Where Did the Rock Go” and on the duet with Wells “If Only You Would Listen” from School of Rock (lyrics by Glenn Slater). She was also crystal clear as the narrator in “Jacob and Sons” from Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.

I missed the music from Jesus Christ Superstar, Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s early masterpiece, which could have been included with the strong male voices on stage. The only song from that rock opera “I Don’t Know How to Love Him,” went to Hogan who sang it as a lyrical pop song. Paloma Para sang the familiar songs “Memory” from Cats and “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina” (lyrics by Tim Rice) from Evita, both showing her vocal power. “Argentina” was especially effective; even though she does not look the part she made the song her own and carried me away. 

Blair is no stranger to the stage (10-plus years in New York, regional theater, and national tours) but was new to the SMT revue and was clearly cast to sing most of the Evita material, “Waltz for Eva and Che,” and to take the lead in the closing “A New Argentina.” She exudes confidence and grace on stage and uses her middle range brilliantly. She can take her voice up to create a strong belt sound without producing the strident quality that is so common among singers these days. She wrung every drop of emotion and vocal nuance out of “Tell Me on a Sunday,” the title song from Lloyd Webber’s one-act song cycle with lyrics by Don Black. The project was originally suggested by lyricist Tim Rice for his mistress Elaine Paige. However, Lloyd Webber did not approve of Rice’s affair and so replaced him with Black and opened the show with another actress.

Gonzales, another newcomer, was a delight singing lead on “Those Canaan Days” from Joseph, backed up by three other men who injected campy humor and strong harmonies into the number. He also showed off his vocal chops on “Any Dream Will Do” from the same musical and as Peron in “A New Argentina.” Wells is a young man with a fine voice who has room to grow as a performer. His best moment was on harmony with Hogan in “If Only You Would Listen.” 

Along with Blair, the other seasoned pro on stage was Hector Coris, winner of the 2010 MAC Award for Male Vocalist for his solo show Life Is Wonderful (live recording available at and iTunes). He delivered an intense “Sunset Boulevard” where he created character and story through his eyes and voice and then later added just a black sweater for a poignant and sad “Evermore Without You” from The Woman in White (lyrics by David Zippel).  He is a perfect Che, and it was fun to see him with Blair on the duet “Waltz for Eva and Che.”

Bravo to musical director and pianist Josh Hontz who was accompanied by Shawn Jordon on percussion. I took note of Jordon’s talent especially on the first solo and then again on the closing ensemble number. The revue came full circle, leaving the audience with the buoyant opener, “Jellicle Songs for Jellicle Cats,” sung in harmony 

An Evening with Andrew Lloyd Webber runs through June 19. Ticket information is available at

Lynn Timmons Edwards

Lynn writes and performs themed cabaret shows based on the songs of the Great American Songbook throughout Arizona. She has had three short plays produced in the Theatre Artists Studio Festival of Summer Shorts and is working on a full length play, "Fairy," based on the life of Mary Russell Ferrell Colton, a founder of the Museum of Northern Arizona. In addition to writing and singing, Lynn plays bridge and tennis and enjoys traveling with her husband and artistic companion, Bob. Born in Ohio, Lynn is a graduate of Denison University (BA), Arizona State University (MPA) and has lived in Arizona since 1977.