Long Beach Symphony POPS! Orchestra
Long Beach Arena
Feb. 26, 2012
You know you're in trouble when one of your best friends sits next to you and asks your date, "So, you don't mind him flirting with Susan Egan?" But that's exactly what happened to me last night at the Long Beach Symphony Orchestra's POPS! concert, an event I previewed a few days ago by interviewing singer Broadway singer/Orange County native Susan Egan.
During said interview, I asked this question: "Let's say I was a broke 32-year-old writer who wanted to date a Broadway star. Hypothetically, how would I go about doing that?"
Now, I'm going on record right now and saying I was absolutely not flirting with Egan. What I was doing was trying to be funny and ask a question that maybe she hadn't been asked before. Unfortunately for me, the "funny" part of my question was not the question itself, but her response, to which she said, "No chance. You'd have to wait in line behind the unemployed actors/waiters, pit musicians and disgruntled Starbucks employees. Oh, and my husband."
After reading that "husband" part, I knew she thought I was hitting on her. Apparently, so did everyone else who read that interview. Because I'm not a creep, I felt the need to explain myself to everyone in attendance. I even thought of bum rushing the stage and addressing the few thousand people in the audience to tell them I was just trying to make a joke and in no way was I flirting with Egan. Luckily for the crowd, I decided not to do that.
Even more luckily for me was the fact that my friend was obviously joking and even more more luckily was the fact that my date seemed amused by the entire ordeal.
Like the late Chick Hearn used to say, "No harm, no foul."
LBSO conductor Steven Reineke couldn't start the show quick enough for me because I knew once he did, I'd forget all about my snafu and dive headfirst into the music. Which is exactly what happened.
Once the lights went down, Reineke led the LBSO, the Azusa Pacific University Choir and singers Egan, Chad Johnson and Christopher Johnstone through a 90-minute trek of some highly recognizable tunes penned by famed Broadway writers Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe.
When I say I don't know much about Broadway, what I really mean to say is I don't know anything about Broadway, so I was pleasantly surprised when I could hum along to many of the songs featured at the concert.
The trio of Egan, Johnson and Johnstone were, simply put, awesome. Egan and Johnstone dueted on "What Do the Simple Folk Do?" and at that moment I figured this Johnson dude was in for a rough night because these two set the bar really high. Then this Johnson dude stands up, belts out "If Ever I Would Leave You" as if he's been singing it since the day he was born and right then I knew we had ourselves a three-way tie for first place for best singer of the evening.
Johnstone was stellar on "They Call the Wind Maria" while the Azusa Pacific University Choir might have stolen the show with its rendition of "There's a Coach Comin' In."
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The show closed with "I Could Have Danced All Night" and while I don't know if I could have danced all night, I definitely could have sat through an encore or two and not felt like I was missing Seinfeld re-reruns at home.
Critical bias: I'm a regular at LBSO POPS! concerts.
Overheard in the crowd: "Shit!" -- a man who had just got to the end of the very long bathroom line during intermission.
Random notebook dump: Based on the amount of fun people were having at the tables last night, I think I need to start drinking more wine.