Divas to descend on northeastern Connecticut

By Denise Coffey - Staff Writer
Regional - posted Tue., Aug. 2, 2011
Divas practice at the Rectory's Tang Center. Photos by D. Coffey.
Divas practice at the Rectory's Tang Center. Photos by D. Coffey.

The Tang Center stage at the Rectory School was ablaze with color and song on July 28. Thirteen women dressed in gorgeous glittery gowns practiced for Broadway Live Productions’ “Divas in Concert,” to be held Aug. 12 and 13.

The name is the brainchild of director David Panteleakos, owner of Broadway Live Productions. “For the past 30 years, I've worked with some amazingly talented ladies,” Panteleakos said. “I thought, ‘What if I could get a bunch of these women matched up with an orchestra singing songs made famous by divas?’ That's the premise of show.”

The concert will showcase songs by Barbra Streisand, Liza Minnelli, Tina Turner, Whitney Houston, and Christina Aguilera, to name a few. Each diva will feature certain songs and genres. There will be ensemble numbers, medleys and even a diva singing opera.
“You can't have a diva show without someone singing opera,” Panteleakos said.

Hartford Symphony Orchestra Conductor Walter Gwardyak arranged the music for the show. He will lead an 18-piece orchestra made up of members from the Hartford Symphony Orchestra.

This caliber of show is a first for northeastern Connecticut, according to Panteleakos.

“Broadway Live Productions is known for its comedy and cameos,” said writer Linda Colangelo. “To keep the show entertaining, we've woven some creative interludes throughout.” While not giving much away, she indicated that there might be some “divos” (six men will make special appearances) working their way into the show. They'd better be up to the challenge of sharing the stage with the 13 sassy, brassy, bold and delightful divas.

“Collectively, these ladies are so powerful, but they are also very different,” said Panteleakos.

Proceeds from the concert will be split between Day Kimball Healthcare’s Deary Memorial Cancer Fund and Habitat for Humanity of Northeast Connecticut. In the last 10 years, Broadway Live Productions has donated almost half a million dollars to local charities.

“It's a wonderful thing to do something charitable and feel good about,” Colangelo said. “But when you get to do that with friends and colleagues and your community – that is over the top. I am blessed to live in a community like this, where performers come out of the woodwork to perform and the community comes out to support the show.”

“Divas in Concert” will be held at the Hyde Cultural Center in Woodstock on Aug. 12 and 13 at 8 p.m.


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