While Carole J. Bufford entertains with Vintage POP! in FST’s Keating Theatre, across the street in FST’s Gompertz Theatre, audiences are singing along to classics like “Crocodile Rock” and “Just the Way You Are.”
Helping FST welcome audiences back to the theatre is its newest musical revue, Three Pianos, celebrating musical pioneers who refused to fit the mold of “rock star” and forged their own paths in the industry.
For FST’s artistic team, this show is particularly meaningful.
“When we were forced to close our theatres in mid-March of 2020, we knew we wouldn’t be able to produce live theatre for live audiences – not for a while,” said the show’s Lead Developer, Rebecca Hopkins. “But we knew that we could look to the future and use the nights our theatres were dark as time to create new work for a brighter tomorrow.”
Thankfully, that brighter tomorrow has arrived. And with it, we bring you, our loyal audience, one of the very first shows that went into development during our closure: Three Pianos.
“The pandemic definitely impacted the development of the show. How could it not?” continued Hopkins. “We started working on it last March when we were shut down. The world was one big unknown and fear was everywhere. As we worked on the show throughout the summer, the lyrics took on new meaning. These artists have a way of connecting with what it means to be human. To be in love. To share a life with others. And a lot of their music focuses on the larger community. All of this I heard with fresh ears and a heightened sense of how important music is in the telling of our collective story.”
Featuring music by such artists as Billy Joel, Stevie Wonder, and Carole King, our three pianists will do more than just tickle the ivories. They’ll show how these influential artists took this seemingly traditional instrument to all-new heights.
In the past, FST brought you Cabarets like Piano Men (2006 and 2017), which also celebrated music captured in 88 black and white keys. Three Pianos builds on FST’s piano-centric musical revues, adding the journeys of female pianists like Nina Simone and Alicia Keys, and featuring songs from the past decade, like “Girl on Fire.”
“They offer new perspectives,” said Rebecca Hopkins of these featured piano women. “Which, in turn, added more depth to the male artists’ perspectives. Together, they tell a fuller story and paint a bigger musical picture.”
The man behind the arrangements for this original musical revue is none other than FST’s own Resident Pianist, Jim Prosser.
“The artists featured in Three Pianos have achieved so much with their music,” said Prosser. “I appreciate the honesty of Billy Joel’s storytelling, and how other artists, like Barry Manilow, infuse themselves into their music in a way that’s almost spiritual. Still, their songs are catchy and stay in your mind. There are very few artists that can accomplish all of these things at such an exceptionally high level.”
Three piano virtuosos return from some of FST’s most popular Cabarets to bring the music of these legends to life. Last seen in FST’s hit Summer Cabaret, Who Loves You: Musical Tribute to Frankie Valli & Beyond, Michael Maricondi is a performer, theatre creator, composer, and educator who has lived and worked in France and the United States. Madalyn McHugh made her FST debut last season in the country music revue, Outlaws & Angels (2020), and is eager to perform music from some of the best contemporary female musicians. Nygel D. Robinson, who has played the piano since he was seven years old, was featured in FST’s hit Cabarets That’s Amoré! (2020) and Blue Suede Shoes (2018).
We hope you enjoy Three Pianos, FST’s newest Cabaret highlighting music that has been – and will continue to be – with us for generations.