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Saturday, July 16, 2016

Dirty Dancing and Jazz

 

Broadway & Vocal Jazz in America

Two live events in America enthralled us: 1) Broadway show and 2) A Capella Vocal Jazz. Our son Dr. Arjun Sengupta of Ohio State University gave us the first surprise by getting tickets to a Broadway show. We consider ourselves lucky that our first outing to a Broadway musical was on a Hollywood blockbuster ‘Dirty Dancing’. It was held at the Ohio State Theater, Downtown, Off High Street, Columbus. The grandeur of the theater hall and a packed gathering were the first things that impressed us. And after that it was just like getting carried away by the performance. At the end it crescendoed with the lilting song of Dirty Dancing ‘I have had the time of my life…’.A thousand splendid lights synced with the song pulsated and danced, grazing the audience and sweeping up and down the enormous cavernous space in the hall showed a novel way of involving audience participation with the artistes on stage. My wife’s friend Anita Chowdhury, our host at New Jersey, was keen on showing a live event. Since we saw a Broadway musical, we opted for a Jazz show. Anita and her husband Sidhu received us at Greyhound Bus Station in China Town, Philadelphia. From there they took us to ‘Victory Bell’ and then for a brief ride through Philadelphia streets, before heading for their house at East Brunswick. We were hungry by the time we reached Anita’s sprawling bungalow. Some culinary delights prepared by Anita awaited us. And we literally gorged on our welcome lunch. Especially the salmon preparation was delectable. At 8 pm we reached Taplin Auditorium, Princeton University to watch yet another grand American event ‘A Capella Vocal Jazz’.Enroute we were fortunate to see the house where Albert Einstein lived. The vocal jazz was something new and unique to us as the jazz numbers were rendered by vocalists without support of any accompanying music. It was all male a Capella. There were two groups , the Fonic – a five man vocal band based in New York City blending pop, rock and soul; and Break from Blue Collar, a quartet from Lancaster, PA with fresh interpretations of barbershop classics and the exciting sounds of rock & roll. It was a part of Princeton Festival and some of the popular jazz numbers rendered were ‘When I’m 64’, ‘Hallelujah’, ‘Zombie Jamboree’, ‘Drip Drop’, ‘Fools Paradise’. The unique baritonal quality of their voices fulfilled the essence of a jazz program. After the show the audience had a wonderful interactive session with the artistes over wine and preparations of cheese, bacon, sausage etc. We came back fully satisfied with feelings that we have been able to see yet another great American event. 


At Ohio State Theater, Columbus

Inside view of the Hall
Show about to begin

The crowd at the Broadway show in Columbus
Philadelphia Street
Victory Bell at Philadelphia


Albert Einstein's house in Princeton
Princeton University
Inside Taplin Auditorium, Princeton University

With performer of vocal jazz

Gathering after the show
(Photographs by Arundhati Sengupta)


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