The show must go on for the 25-year-old Bucks County music and theatre tradition but in a new virtual format to raise money to keep the theatre operating after COVID-19 closed their stage down
The show must go on! From Bucks County to the world, Bristol Riverside Theatre brings its Summer Music Fest into homes, vacation homes or anywhere its audience may be for 2020. This popular, annual summertime music series is one of the highlights for one of the region’s beloved theaters. For the new season, look for performances that can be watched anywhere with a solid internet connection and a music lover singing along behind the screen. The series starts
Tickets for the virtual Summer Music Fest are on sale now for August and September shows! The Summer Music Fest will include A Night at the Movies on August 5, 7 and 9. The series will conclude with the grand finale, the Broadway Summer Spectacular on September 2, 4 and 6. The first date for each show will be a live performance, and the additional two dates are recorded broadcasts from the first live performance. The band behind all shows will be led by BRT Artistic Director Keith Baker, who also serves as the host and Music Director for the shows. Performers will feature a who’s who from the local stage and from Broadway.
Tickets from the series will help keep the theatre’s doors open and raise funds to help the theatre reopen later this year. Tickets to the event cost $35. After each purchase, the buyer will be sent a YouTube Link prior to the performance. Tickets are available online now at BRTstage.org or over the phone at 215-785-0100. The Summer Music Fest is sponsored by William J. Salerno, Esq. and Juniper Communities with special thanks to The Grundy Foundation.
“We wanted to find a way to keep a connection to our audiences,” said BRT Artistic Director Keith Baker. “I hope audiences continue to enjoy our Summer Music Fest — this time from the comforts of wherever they are. This will be an adventure. I wish I could have everyone in the room. Our performers are super talented. I can’t wait to see what they do with this format. The show must go on and we can’t thank everyone enough for their ongoing support of our work.”
Summer Music Fest with A Night at the Moviesruns Wednesday, August 5th at 7:00pm with a live performance, followed by pre-recorded performances on Friday, August 7th at 7:00pm and Sunday, August 9th at 3:00pm. A Night at the Movies celebrates favorite songs from Tinsel Town’s greatest musicals and movies. From Casablanca to Goldfinger, the music from the silver screen will have audiences singing along. A Night at the Movies in August will feature the musical and theatre talents of Bristol Riverside Theatre favorites Demetria Joyce Bailey, Rebecca Robbins and Sean Thomspon.
Demetria Joyce Bailey is a veteran of the Summer Music Fest and many shows at BRT and other regional stages. She last appeared at BRT in The Sunshine Boys. Rebecca Robbins was part of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera on tour and on Broadway. She last appeared on the BRT stage in Triumph of Love, where she earned raves. Sean Thompson, another BRT veteran, was Cliff in Cabaret, the last show on the BRT stage. Thompson is also a Broadway veteran, who appeared in Sunset Boulevard and played Raul in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Love Never Dies, the sequel to The Phantom of the Opera.
For the grand finale, Summer Music Fest closes with the annual Broadway Summer Spectacular on Wednesday, September 2nd at 7:00pm with a live performance, followed by pre-recorded performances on Friday, September 4th at 7:00pm and Sunday, September 6th at 3:00pm. Once again, BRT will bring Broadway to Bristol in one sensational concert. It will be an evening packed with Broadway’s best from composers like Stephen Sondheim, Richard Rodgers, and Oscar Hammerstein II.
For all shows this year, Baker will host Summer Music Fest live from his own living room. Baker is a triple threat here as he also will be the conductor/band leader and play the keyboard. His band includes: Robert Garguillo (bass), Kathy Goff (percussion), Neil Nemetz (guitar), and Claudia Pellegrini (violin).
Habib Azar, a six-time Emmy Award-winning television director, is the Broadcast Director and Editor. Hiram McLaren Becker is the Technical Director. BRT Resident Costume Designer Linda B. Stockton is the Costume Designer. Charles S. Reece is the Master Electrician and Brett Pearson is the Audio Engineer. For performers, all solos will be sung live during the first night of each show. Any duos and trios or full cast songs will be pre-recorded.
“The new virtual format for Summer Music Fest will be like watching a live show on television with pre-recorded video segments,” said incoming Co-Producing Director Ken Kaissar. “Think Saturday Night Live — the host is live, but then the cast may do a music video that was recorded beforehand. The concerts are designed to bring people together for a live, shared experience of beloved songs and fun spectacle. Since we can’t host a show in person this year, we wanted to create a live, shared, fun spectacle – and Keith as host will definitely help make it a memorable night for everyone!”
Keith Baker and Founding Director Susan Atkinson created the Summer Music Fest 25 years ago to offer programming in the summer at the theatre. The concerts were a way to excite the audience during a time when the theatre was dark, and each year the audience has grown and turned the concerts into one of BRT’s most popular events.
“We’re so proud to bring this music tradition back and lift everyone’s spirits,” added Baker. “When our most recent show Cabaret was cut short at the start of the COVID-19 crisis, and theatre stages everywhere went dark, we lost a bit of joy, creativity and hope in the world. We want to bring back the sound of music to theatre lovers everywhere and keep the 25-year-old tradition alive. I hope the Summer Music Fest continues as long as we have audiences to see them.”
Tickets are on sale now for all concerts. Tickets are a $35 donation each to support Bristol Riverside Theatre. Tickets are available online at BRTstage.org or over the phone at 215-785-0100.
ABOUT BRISTOL RIVERSIDE THEATRE
Since 1986, BRT has continued to bring critically acclaimed professional theatre to Bucks County. The theatre is the recipient of over 71 Barrymore Award nominations for Excellence in Theatre, given annually by Theatre Philadelphia. Under the direction of Artistic Director Keith Baker, Founding Director Susan D. Atkinson, and General Manager David J. Abers, the theatre serves as a cultural hub for the community. In addition to its Mainstage productions, BRT offers four concerts, including the holiday tradition An American Christmas Songbook, the new play development series America Rising, and the summer theater arts camp ArtRageous. For information, visit www.brtstage.org.