by MK Scott
I always enjoy the Seattle Symphony Pop series when they salute Broadway, but what I enjoy most is music from the 1980’s. It may come as a surprise to some of you that the Symphony would salute the 1980’s and instead of the 1780’s as they did indeed with the help of two Broadway stars this past weekend at Benaroya Hall.
Aaron C. Finley (Kinky Boots, Rock of Ages) and Nicole Parker (Fame Becomes Me, Wicked) teamed up with guest conductor Stuart Chafetz (from the Columbus Symphony Pops) for the Seattle Symphony Pop series concert celebrating the 1980’s in ‘Totally ’80s.’ Included were songs made famous by George Michael, Huey Lewis, Michael Jackson and many others.
The energetic Chafetz led the full symphony with Europe’s ‘Final Countdown,’ before introducing their first special guest, Nicole Parker, singing ‘Funkytown.’ Aaron C. Finley then joined Parker on stage for Wham’s ‘Wake Up Before You Go-Go’ and then sang ‘Careless Whisper’ solo as Parker left the stage for a quick costume change.
Finley exited the stage as Parker returned to sing Quarterflash’s ‘Harden My Heart’ and then left the stage when Finley returned to sing Mister Mister’s ‘Broken Wings.’
As Finley left the stage Chafetz led the full symphony in the theme from the 1980 film, Chariots of Fire. Both Finley and Parker then reappeared from stage right and ran slow motion across the stage. This was the funniest moment of the night.
The audience participation for the night was Chafetz encouraging the audience to sing the theme to the film Ghostbusters.
Chafetz then introduced and conducted the next number, the theme from Back to the Future, which then was followed by Finley and Parker returning to the stage to sing Huey Lewis’ ‘The Power of Love’ which concluded Act One.
To open Act Two, Chafetz led the symphony in an incredible heavy-stringed arrangement of Tears for Fears’ ‘Everybody Wants to Rule the World.’
Finley returned to the stage to perform Phil Collins’ ‘In the Air Tonight.’ Parker returned to the stage for a rendition of Michael Jackson’s ‘Smooth Criminal.’ Finley left the stage for Parker to sing Heart’s ‘Alone’ – well, alone.
Then Parker left Chafetz all alone with the symphony to conduct Rush’s ‘The Spirit of Radio’ and Billy Joel’s ‘and so it goes.’
Finley returned to the stage to sing Tommy Tutone’s ‘867-5309 (Jenny),’ while Parker returned to perform Cher’s ‘If I Could Turn Back Time.’
Both Finley and Parker sang a duet of Robert Palmer’s ‘Addicted to Love’ and Huey Lewis’ ‘The Heart of Rock and Roll,’ followed by a rocking encore with Kool and the Gang’s ‘Celebration.’
The Seattle Symphony’s ‘Totally ’80s’ concert was a ‘Totally AWESOME’ show with incredible orchestrations of your favorite ’80s songs.