Tony Nominee Amanda Green Brings Together Hardbody and Bring It On, as High Fidelity Sings at 54 Below
By Michael Gioia
Amanda Green, who received her first Tony Award nomination this season for the Best Original Score of Hands on a Hardbody, fused the worlds of Hardbody and her Tony-nominated Best Musical Bring It On: The Musical with a concert version of her first Broadway outing, the short-lived rock show High Fidelity.
"I think it was High Fidelity when my name first appeared [in a Broadway Playbill]. It was beyond thrilling," lyricist Green told Playbill.com at the recent Tony Award nominations press junket. "I'm so thrilled… Tom [Kitt] and I are putting [the High Fidelity concert] together, and Leigh Silverman is directing it. A bunch of people who were in Hardbody and a bunch of people who were in Bring It On and Mario Cantone [are among the performers]. And, the Indigo Girls [are] singing a song that we wrote as a tribute to the Indigo Girls. I mean, it's just a very meta event."
54 Below, the intimate concert venue below Broadway's Studio 54 — where 2013 Tony Award nominee Will Chase was seen earlier this season in Roundabout Theatre Company's The Mystery of Edwin Drood — was, in fact, very meta as cast members from Green's Hands on a Hardbody and Bring It On greeted original High Fidelity co-stars Chase and Jenn Colella for the May 19 concert version of Green's first Broadway project. All three of her Broadway credits were represented in one room.
"[54 Below director of programming] Phil Bond approached [myself and composer Kitt about the concert], and it just seemed like a wonderful thing to do. Two nights were better than just one night," said Green, who will revisit the 2006 rock musical once more May 20. "We just love our score, and we love the chance to hear it again. I love Will, and I love Jenn, and [it's] just a bunch of talented people, and it will be a joy to hear it again."
The sold-out house at 54 Below — which included Debra Messing, Thomas Meehan, Emma Hunton, Kurt Deutsch, Alex Lacamoire and more among a slew of High Fidelity fans — was extremely energetic from the moment Tony nominee Chase took the stage as record-store owner Rob for "Desert Island All-Time Top 5 Break-Ups," setting up the scene for an evening of breakups and belting.
The performers were backed by a trio of Hardbody guys, David Larsen, Corey Mach and Jon Rua, as well as a trio of Bring It On gals, Ryann Redmond, Janet Krupin and Taylor Louderman. They provided vocals on songs such as "She Goes," performed by Gasteyer; "The Last Real Record Store On Earth," featuring Chase, Chanler-Berat and Jarvis; "Cryin' in the Rain" and "Nine Percent Chance," with Hughes; and company numbers "Conflict Resolution" and "Turn The World Off (And Turn You On)."
Tony Award-winning songwriter Kitt, on piano, led the pit, which also included Lacamoire and Adam Ben-David on piano, Alec Berlin and Josh Weinstein on guitars, Randy Landau on bass, Dan Willis on reed and Damien Bassman on drums.
Highlights of the evening included "Number 5 With a Bullet," a show-stopping number belted out by the sassy and chic Colella, who was most recently seen on Broadway — also singing into the stratosphere — in Chaplin; "Goodbye and Good Luck," featuring Mario Cantone alongside Chase; "Laura, Laura" and "Too Tired," performed by Chase and Colella, respectively; and "Ready to Settle," featuring Grammy Award-winning folk duo the Indigo Girls, who received a standing ovation after their performance in the middle of the show.
"I wrote them fan mail, and they answered it," said songwriter Kitt from behind the piano on how he enlisted the Indigo Girls to be part of the May 19 concert. The Girls, Amy Ray and Emily Saliers, admitted that they were "honored" to be included during the concert's encore, which featured some of their own tunes, including their hit "Galileo."
Although High Fidelity, which featured a book by playwright David Lindsay-Abaire, ran for only 18 previews and 14 regular Broadway performances, the musical was alive again at 54 Below, and Tony nominee Green was thrilled.
(Playbill.com staff writer Michael Gioia's work appears in the news, feature and video sections of Playbill.com. Follow him on Twitter at @PlaybillMichael.)
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