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Enjoy “100 Years of Broadway” at the Ritz Theatre in Tiffin

Roughly 540 miles separate Tiffin from New York City; however, the two worlds meet locally when Neil Berg’s acclaimed “100 Years of Broadway” show comes to Northwest Ohio for a performance at the Ritz Theatre.
John Benson
Mar 19, 2013

Billed as a top notch musical revue, this popular touring entity makes its Tiffin debut with five Broadway stars accompanied by an all-star New York band. The current lineup includes Ron Bohmer (The Phantom in “Phantom of the Opera,” “Sunset Boulevard” and “Ragtime”), Carter Calvert (“It Ain’t Nothin’ but the Blues,” “Cats” and “Forbidden Vegas”), Robert Desold (“The Producers,” “Les Misérables,” “Phantom of the Opera” “Cats” and “Jekyll and Hyde”), Sandra Joseph (Christine Daae in “Phantom of the Opera”) and Craig Schulman (The Phantom in “Phantom of the Opera,” Jean Valjean in “Les Misérables” and “Jekyll & Hyde”).

Want to go?
WHAT
: Neil Berg’s “100 Years of Broadway”
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 22
WHERE: The Ritz Theatre, 30 S. Washington St., Tiffin
COST: $20 to $50
INFO: 419.448.8544 or www.ritztheatre.org

Funcoast talked to Berg – who is currently writing the music for the Broadway bound musical “Grumpy Old Men” – about this star-studded evening and why snotty theater people may want to stay at home.

Funcoast: How long has “100 Years of Broadway” been on the road?
Neil Berg (NB): It’s a national tour doing between 80 to 100 concerts a year. This will be its 9th year. I use only the real stars. The whole concept is I bring five actual Broadway stars. These aren’t people singing tunes. I’m bringing in the real deal. These are people who have starred in the most famous roles on Broadway. That’s what separates us. They tell the stories behind the songs. So it’s an inside look into Broadway from the actual stars as they recreate their big moments from their big shows.

Funcoast:How does the revolving cast work?
NB: I have a stable of 50 of the best stars. My relationship with them is such that when they’re not in the Broadway shows, what do they do? They go on concert tours with me. So they call me two weeks before a Broadway show closes and say, “What concerts do you have coming up?” I pick the best of the best based on who is not in a show, so the cast is always rotating.

Funcoast: Considering this is the first time “100 Years of Broadway” is playing Tiffin, what can we expect?
NB: They’re in for Broadway nirvana. If you’re a Broadway fan, it’s like seeing 25 to 35 of your favorite musicals without the dialogue but all of the hits. So it’s like a greatest hits concert but by the actual stars. It’s Broadway utopia, and even if you’re not a big Broadway fan, then it’s the best talent in the world. So there’s no way you’re not going to flip out and enjoy this concert.

Funcoast:You mentioned the audience is the sixth man after the five performers. What does this mean?
NB: People come in knowing all of the songs. They’re bringing in the whole history of memories of who they were with when they saw the musical for the first time and what it means to them. So people get very emotional. People are crying and laughing. That’s what makes is so special. All of those things bring it full circle.

Funcoast: Oftentimes people are intimited by a Broadway show. They may feel as though it’ll be above their head.
NB: This is not standoffish. It’s all inclusive, so it feels like one big party. It’s a celebration and a party. This show is for the public. This show is not for the snotty theater people. This is for mom and pop who love the music of Broadway. That’s why it works so well.