Broadway Boys come to PAC: Contemporary show tunes introduce Broadway to Florence

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Photo by: Contributed Photo

The Broadway Boys blend classic Broadway hits with todays chart toppers to engage audiences

Nisheeka Simmons, Staff Writer

Broadway traveled to the South on Nov. 22 with the Broadway Boy’s performance on the main stage of Francis Marion University’s (FMU) Performing Arts Center (PAC) at 7:30 p.m.

Performers for The Broadway Boys included Brad Greer, Travis Moran, Daniel Torres, Gabe Violet, John Dias and Zal Owen. The group performed show tunes from several famous Broadway shows and gave each song its own contemporary spin.  Dr. Glen Gourley, professor of theatre at FMU, gave the show his stamp of approval.

“They sung ‘Home’ and ‘A Place Called Home,’ which are two of my favorite songs,” Gourley said.  “I even found a new favorite in the song ‘Electricity;’ I love it and I will have it.”

Brad Greer, a performer who sang “Home” during the show, shared some of his past with the audience before beginning the song. He said that he grew up thirty minutes south of Atlanta, G.A., and was a chubby, awkward kid with braces.  Greer said that like a lot of southern kids he started singing in church, and that the move to the North was a big transition for him.

“We have all found a place that we can call home and I have found a family in Broadway,” Greer said.

In honor of their home in New York City, the Broadway Boys sang “NY Tribute” before the intermission.  It is composed of lyrics from several show tunes and the song “Empire State of Mind,” made famous by Jay-Z and Alicia Keys. The performers challenged the audience to see how many show tunes they could recognize within the song.  Over a dozen other songs were performed including renditions of “Neverland,” “Uptown Girl,” “This Christmas” and “Ease on Down the Road.”  The Broadway Boys ended the show with the song “Defying Gravity” from the award-winning Broadway show “Wicked,” that brought the audience to their feet.

According to performer Zal Owen, the Broadway Boys is a singing group that has been together for about seven years. Owen said the group consists of many members that alternate in order to perform between their respective Broadway shows.  The group that Owen is currently performing with had only rehearsed for about a week and would be on tour for the next three weeks. 

“The arrangements for the songs are so unique and the harmonies are complex,” Owen said.  “For me, learning this is more difficult than what I am used to, but it is also more gratifying.”

Owen went on to say that this is the first time the Broadway Boys have been to South Carolina in nearly two years and that this is the group’s first time ever coming to Florence.  After flying from New York and landing in Myrtle Beach, Owen said they were caught off guard by the warmth of the climate. Owen said that the southern hospitality of FMU was very pleasing and that he liked performing in the PAC.

“Standing on the stage and seeing the acoustics and the lights was awesome,” Owen said. “It is not often that we get to perform on such a big stage or in such a gorgeous space so I definitely enjoyed it.”

Torres, another member of the group, agreed that FMU took really good care of them once they arrived and said that the local cuisine has been one of his favorite experiences.

“None of us had ever had chicken bog, and it was amazing,” Torres said. “They even rented us a big minivan. This has been the only time that all of the Broadway Boys have been able to ride in the same vehicle comfortably! We send a big ‘thank you’ to Laura Sims.”

  The Broadway Boys’ album, entitled “Lullaby of Broadway,” and t-shirts were available for purchase during the intermission and after the show.