A Night of Broadway Was a Night of Fellowship, Music and Honor at York

Pastor Beverly Caeser(left), Honoree Theara J. Ward (center) and Kwame Clarke(right) as they have honor and praise to Mrs.Ward for her service and dedication to the community through her work as a dancer and choreographer. Photo Credit: Keila Ottero

By Keila Ottero

Singers, dancers and those who love and support the arts came together on Oct. 6 for “A Night of Broadway” at the Milton G. Bassin Performing Art Center to honor three amazing women in the field.

The honorees were Theara J. Ward, a dancer who began her journey at the age of 13 in the Dance Theater of Harlem, Anne-Marie Hudley (Simmons), a Chicago native who has expanded her passion and love in music and education here in New York City, and Mrs.Carolyn DeVore, the founder and Artistic Director of the DeVore Dance Center in Hollis,Queens.

The performers of the night were six aspiring theatrical singers; Jordan Watkins, Nyla Sampson, Alyson Brown, Jordan Brown, Eliza Brielle and Alicia Bagley. They were accompanied by Marc Adams on piano, Gerald Lindsay on bass and Philip Gilespie on drums.

The songs performed were selected from many Broadway musicals like; Porgy and Bess, Wicked, The Last 5 Years, Aida and many others.

Eliza Brielle performed Diva’s Lament from Spamalot, Shadowland from The Lion King along with the ensemble, The Wizard and I from Wicked, Easy as Life from Aida and I Will Never Leave You from Sideshow along with Alicia Bagley.

Brielle’s performance gave off energy, attitude, emotion and sincerity, as she was able to show the characters personifications through her body language and presence. After watching her perform Easy as Life, an audience member after the show commented that Brielle’s voice reminded her of Jennifer Hudson in the movie Dreamgirls.

    The other performers gave many great renditions to these well known Broadway classics, and despite experiencing some technical difficulties they still performed to the best of their ability.

Another one of the performers Alyson Brown, who had a sort of old school lounge type voice that just made you listen and relax, sang The World Goes Round from the musical of the same name. Brown’s second song was Being Good Isn’t Good Enough from the musical Hallelujah, Baby! Where once again she gave you that Ella Fitzgerald/ Billie Holiday essence within her voice and range. Though her microphone was low she was able still able to deliver her songs as she raised her voice to be heard and give it her all.      

     Another performer was Alicia Bagley who performed I Got Love from Purlie. Though her microphone was set a bit too loud from her powerful voice and vocal range she was still able to deliver a powerful performance. Bagley showed her softer and more nurturing side as she performed She Used to be Mine from the newest Broadway hit, Waitress. Her voice was so soft and as the song is supposed to show the growth of the character, Bagley was was still able to express that beautifully.

    At the end of the Show Eliza Brielle had a duet with Alicia Bagley called I Will Never Leave You from the musical Sideshow. Their voices were insync and so connected on that stage, as they gave it their all as they closed the show. Their presence on that stage during this last performance gave the audience a sense of an unbreakable, sisterly bond.

After the show Joel Feliciano, a 24 year old dance instructor from Brooklyn, and one of Carolyn DeVore’s former students said, “I respect Mrs.Devore so much because I wouldn’t be where I am today if she hadn’t shown me I was worthy.”  

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