David Elder on "103 Years of Broadway"
Neil Berg’s "103 Years of Broadway" is nothing short of a love letter, taken from the lyrics of songs over the past 100 plus years on the stage. The production, which will be performed at the Balboa Theatre on Sunday, January 20 at 2:30 p.m., will feature Emcee, Producer and Music Director Neil Berg offering behind-the-scenes tidbits about The Great White Way and the numbers being performed.
The music from the past and present will be supplied by an all-star New York band, while the songs will be brought to life by five Broadway stars, including husband and wife duo Ron Bohmer and Sandra Joseph, Jeffrey Denman, Erin Denman and David Elder.
Elder is a song-and-dance man who has quite the Broadway resume, having appeared in a number of productions. They include: "Guys and Dolls," "Damn Yankees," "Beauty and the Beast," "Once Upon A Mattress," "Kiss Me Kate," "42nd Street" and "Curtains."
The Rage Monthly caught up with Elder via e-mail, who starred in Irving Berlin’s White Christmas as Phil Davis at The Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., to talk all things musical theater.
To what do you attribute audiences’ love of theater for over a century?
We all need an escape from our everyday lives and routines. That’s as true today as it was 100 years ago; it’s a live medium which intrinsically possesses an excitement potential that movies and television shows can’t offer. I also believe that there is this overriding possibility to witness the performance of a lifetime, only in theater, that perhaps changes your life forever.
Is there a particular play and or musical that you would cite as a favorite, both as an actor and a fan?
I would say the musical "Crazy For You" is a particular favorite of mine; as an actor, dancer, singer and a fan. I’ve done the show two times, playing the lead Bobby Childs and it’s chock-a-block full of what I love to do on stage. It’s a very fulfilling evening for the actor, because he is able to combine all of his talents into one distinct persona, including his comedic chops and it’s some of the greatest Gershwin music ever written. The female lead gets to sing her face off too.
Which role has resonated with you the most?
I would probably say Don Lockwood in "Singing in the Rain." I’ve played the role twice and it’s potentially one of the most grueling of all male roles in musical theater. As you grow up idolizing certain performers, you long for the chance to someday walk in their shoes one day. Gene Kelly was that performer for me. His looks, dancing, singing, his charm, his smile, all inspired me to follow this career path and subsequently spend most of my adult life trying to emulate him.
Which songs will you be performing?
I believe I will be singing "Easy To Love" from Any- thing Goes, "Singing in the Rain" from "Singing in the Rain," "Two Lost Souls" from Damn Yankees and "The Best Things Happen While Your Dancing" from Irving Berlin’s "White Christmas." I will also be participating in some other wonderful group numbers.
To which aspect of performing are you most looking forward?
Sharing any stage with supremely talented performers is always exciting and I’m dancing with a new partner in this concert, the lovely Erin Denman. We did "42nd Street" on Broadway together, but have never actually partnered until now; so I’m looking forward to that. It’s also wonderful to revisit these great songs and hear them in a whole new way.
What will audiences come away with from attending "103 Years of Broadway"?
Neil Berg’s infectious personality and great story- telling capabilities will leave you flying high. And his passion for entertaining is incredibly contagious.
The audience will leave the theater surprised and delighted at how quickly the evening passes, due to their rekindled love affair that they will once again share with these timeless and iconic songs.
For tickets and more information call 619.570.1100 or go to sandiegotheatres.com.