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Grateful this Thanksgiving for ‘Broadway Request Live’ at Music Mountain in Lambertville

By John Millman-Dwyer

With such a large talent pool, Music Mountain Theatre in Lambertville has the opportunity to present many of its ensemble several times a year in a themed show highlighting their abilities. 

In this case, the spotlight is on Broadway show tunes, both standards and new. Paralleling both standard and new is a cast of regulars and newbies who are all excellent and all singing their hearts out.

The strong troupe of singer/actors include those well known to this stage like David McCloughan, Jr., Jomarie Apelt, Libby Kane, Jeff Stephens, Lucinda Fisher and Lauren Waksman. New faces that you may have seen in supporting roles before like Dawn Cimilluca and Jen Pilchman are here. New faces also include Nicholas Kianka and Emily Cobb, who are performers who have graced other stages but are new to Music Mountain. Kianka has performed at The Kelsey Theater, and Cobb has finished a contract with Nickelodean. With all this as credentials, this is to say we have a deep bench for “Broadway Request Live: A Concert.”

The gimmick is in the title of the show, and it is a fun one. The attendees at the physical show (which is topped at under 25% capacity, with every audience member wearing a mask in accordance with guidelines), coupled with the live online audience, get to choose some of the material to be sung.  Of the 17 songs of the evening, six of them are an audience choice. My one pick that I was so happy that I did get was for Jomarie Apelt to sing “Bali Hai” again. Back in May of 2019, I called her rendition a breakout performance and her voice pure gold. It is all still true. So glad to hear her sing “Bali Hai” once more.

David McLoughan Jr. glows when onstage, just in case there is a blackout. He sells a song like no other, and is there to sing “De-Lovely” from Cole Porter’s “Anything Goes” and “Suddenly Seymour” with the charming Dawn Cimulluca. Libby Kane has one of the most beautiful voices and could entrance you if she were singing the phonebook. If she did that, she would have you by “aardvark,” but luckily she has several solo moments to fall in love with her again instead, including an audience choice solo. We got “Right Hand Man” from “Something Rotten.” Lucinda Fisher (who played Tracy in “Hairspray”) hit a home run with “Home” from “Phantom.”

Also notable were Jeff Stephens accompanying himself with guitar singing “Falling” from “Once,” Jen Pilchman doing “A Change in Me” (“Beauty and the Beast”), “Miracle of Miracle” by the appealing Nicholas Kianka and “Stupid with Love” from “Mean Girls” by Emily Cobb. A special shoutout to Lauren Waksman for the fun portrayal of Edie Beale from “Grey Gardens” when she sang the song from same “Revolutionary Costume for Today.” It was spot on and memorable. Sue Den Outer needs to be singled out as well, for being the exceptionally gifted pianist that she is. Though some accompaniment was taped, she was there for all the live requests. Kudos to stage manager Karl Wiegand, who not only did stage managing duties, but tallied the votes for the requests, not unlike the accountants for PricewaterhouseCoopers for the Oscars.

For tickets to the show to see in person or online, go to  Music Mountain is leading the way in producing theater in a safe environment for its audiences. They take temps of all audience members and all staff. The myriad protections in place are detailed at the website, as well. 

There are two more performances for this enjoyable show. They are at Saturday, Nov. 28 and Sunday, Nov. 29 at 3 p.m. 

Support your local theater in these difficult times and enjoy the beautiful voices that sing Broadway Live. Taking your requests!

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