By Jessica Neu
Oh, what a night it was as some of Pittsburgh Musical Theater’s brightest stars took the stage to present Oh What a Season! PMT’s Broadway at the Overlook. Running through September 11, the delightful show gives audience members a sneak peek at the diverse season that PMT has planned for 2022-2023. Staged at the West End Overlook, the performances were punctuated by the picturesque views of the city and sunset as spotlights illuminated the performers as the night sky grew dark.
The PMT Superstar Squad, comprised of it’s conservatory students, opened the show with an energetic rendition of Pharell’s “Happy.” The song set the mood for the evening. as Nearly every student had a solo moment to shine, displaying a wide range of talent that will undoubtedly be showcased further in upcoming productions. After the opening number, six PMT performers, Breckon Newton Farrell, Caroline Nicolian, Quinn Patrick Shannon, David Toole, Callee Miles, and Richard McBride, took the stage with a spoken overview of PMT’s season. A look at the company and why the conservatory makes for a unique and extraordinary theatrical experience followed.
Pictured left to right: Brecken Newton Farrell, Caroline Nicolian, Quinn Patrick Shannon, David Toole, Callee Miles, Richard McBride
From there, the six leads accompanied by the Superstar Squad and backed by a student-led orchestra from Pittsburgh’s CAPA dove into numbers from each show in PMT’s upcoming season. The cast briefly introduces each show with a plot overview, production credits, and the dates and location of the performance. Once the singing and dancing began, performers wove seamlessly in and out of various numbers, providing audiences with a sense of the tone, theme, and energy that each show will deliver.
The cast performed several numbers from each show in the upcoming season. Beginning with The Little Mermaid, they piqued the audience’s interest in the show. They reminded us there is more to the musical than the well-known “Under the Sea” and “Part of Your World.”
Following the numbers from the Disney classic, the cast journeyed through songs from A Lyrical Christmas Carol, offing a musical twist on the beloved Christmas story while highlighting their gorgeous harmonies. Closing out the first act were songs from Beauty and the Beast Jr., again providing the audience with all the warmth and nostalgia of classic Disney music while showcasing the primary actors’ talents.
After a brief intermission, the performers returned to delight audiences with hilariously quirky songs from Evil Dead: The Musical, which will open PMT’s season later this month. The cast does a beautiful job of keeping the songs from this show PG-rated, allowing for the tone of the whole evening to remain family-friendly.
Just before the finale, the cast introduces the musical, Once, which showcases the talent and vocal range of the primary performers more so than any other production previously showcased in the evening’s repertoire. For me, it was during the songs from Once that the uniqueness of “Broadway at the Overlook” really shone. It is not often that audiences can experience the same cast members performing a range of songs from various musicals that range from fairytale to sardonic horror to Pop-music nostalgia. The cast seamlessly adapts to portray a different character in each show, even playing their own instruments during the preview for Once. Not to be forgotten, the Superstar Squad maturely shines in supporting roles and ensemble numbers that showcase their ability to harmonize and dance.
The squad’s talents are superbly showcased during the show’s finale as the cast previews the hit musical Jersey Boys, which will also close out PMT’s season in Spring 2023. The “happy” tone set during the opening number of Broadway at the Overlook comes full circle during the delightful finale of familiar songs and danceable classics. PMT’s sneak-peak production is a night to remember as the conservatory prepares for what will undoubtedly be an unforgettable season.
PMT’s Oh What a Season! Broadway at the Overlook is a A Pittsburgh CitiParks free event. For more info visit: https://pittsburghmusicals.com/shows/overlook/