July 22, 2005
Just the music, without the schtick
Who needs a plot to hang all these songs on?
Gay boy from the Midwest goes to the big city to make a splash in show biz: Cliché.
Showtunes are very gay: Stereotype.
Gay boy from the Midwest goes to the big city to make a splash in show biz, then returns with his showtune-laden concert, taking the very best of Broadway musicals while leaving behind the narratives: Pure gold.
“The show started as an idea of mine in 1991,” said Stepp Stewart, creator of Red Hot Broadway, which will be in Columbus on Friday, July 29. “I also had written a show called Burlesque to Broadway, which may be coming soon.”
Stewart has a strong background both in musical theater and in the concert world, having been a back-up singer, dancer and choreographer for Debbie Gibson, and wanted to merge his two worlds.
“What a beautiful combination it has turned out to be,” he noted. “I call it ‘A Concert for Theatergoers’.”
Among the songs in Red Hot Broadway are “All That Jazz,” “Sweet Georgia Brown,” “Too Darn Hot” and “Sweet Transvestite,” among others, with original choreography.
Two numbers, “With You” from Pippin and “America” from West Side Story, both have the original choreography by Bob Fosse and Jerome Robbins, both of whom were queer.
One of the aspects of Red Hot Broadway that makes it so special, says Stewart, is the rotating celebrity guest spot on the tour. The Columbus date will feature B.J. Crosby, who will perform “When You’re Good to Mama,” reprising her Broadway role from Chicago.
“I love the rotating celebrity guest artists in the show because it can be customized just for them, male or female,” Stewart said. “Slated to appear in future performances are Frenchie David, Freda Payne, and once again, Deborah Gibson.”
Picking favorite numbers from the show is difficult for him, since the show is an anthology of his favorite songs from Broadway already.
The show debuted on September 28, 2001 at the Keswick Theater in Philadelphia, and the Orrville, Ohio native shows no signs of stopping it any time soon, despite the fullness of his plate.
“I am currently finishing a stage adaptation to a television special of the 1970s whose name I can’t reveal,” the Ohio State University alum noted. “I am also slated to direct and choreograph the Broadway revival of Bubbling Brown Sugar.”
Of course, his first priority is to spread the message of Red Hot Broadway far and wide.
“Everyone loves a great voice, a great song, a great body, and great dancing,” he said. “The time has come to put it all out there and give the people what they want.”
Red Hot Broadway will sizzle at the Capitol Theater in the Vern Riffe Center for Government and the Arts, across High Street from the Statehouse. For tickets or more information, call 614-4607214 or 614-4690939 or log onto www.ticketmaster.com.