Stars and amateurs come together for a night of ‘singing and dancing, tears and laughter’

Broadway veteran Eloise Kropp plays Val in the Lexington Theatre Company’s 2018 production of “A Chorus Line” at the Opera House in Lexington.
Broadway veteran Eloise Kropp plays Val in the Lexington Theatre Company’s 2018 production of “A Chorus Line” at the Opera House in Lexington. Credit: Steve Shaffer

“Concert with the Stars” was supposed to be a one-off, a way for an ambitious young couple to introduce their idea for a professional musical theater company in Lexington. They’d put on a show in January 2015 to tantalize audiences into coming to their summer musical.

But the show took on a life its own and, with the fifth edition coming January 5 at the Lexington Opera House, it has become a fixture in the offerings of The Lexington Theatre Company (known as The LEX), founded by Lyndy and Jeromy Smith in 2014.

Lyndy Smith promises singing and dancing, tears and laughter.

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In a cabaret-style setting, with band members onstage, the stars perform four musical numbers each, working with college students who have been in training with The LEX.

In this intimate setting the seasoned performers also “take a lot of time telling their own stories, we hear how they got to where they are, the shows they’ve been in, what their Broadway debut felt like,” Smith said. “There are lots of goosebumps moments.”

The star lineup this year:

Eloise Krupp whose credits include Ruby in “Dames at Sea” on Broadway. Lexington audiences saw her last summer as Val in The LEX’s production of “A Chorus Line.”

Actor Joe Carroll’s resume includes television appearances on “NCIS: New Orleans,” “Chicago Fire” and “Elementary.” Provided

Joe Carroll whose resume includes appearances on “NCIS: New Orleans,” “Chicago Fire” and “Elementary” on television; and as Johnny in “Bandstand,” Prince Topher in “Cinderella” and Balthazar in “Romeo and Juliet” on Broadway.

Solea Pfeiffer who originated the role of Eliza Hamilton in the West Coast tour of “Hamilton” after her performance as Maria in “West Side Story” in the Hollywood Bowl/LA Philharmonic production conducted by Gustavo Dudamel. She also appeared in the final season of “Scandal” on ABC.

Dan DeLuca originated the role of Jack Kelly in the first national tour of “Newsies” in addition to regional credits at the Goodspeed Opera House in Connecticut, the Muny in St. Louis and the Old Globe in San Diego as well as performing Emmett in The LEX’s 2017 production of “Legally Blonde.”

Emma Degerstedt as Elle Woods with Bruiser and Dan Deluca as Emmett Forrest performed during a rehearsal of the Lexington Theatre Company production of “Legally Blonde -- The Musical” in 2017. Pablo Alcala palcala@herald-leader.com

DeLuca said he’s thrilled to return to Lexington and The LEX.

“You can feel their warmth and the dedication that they have not only to the company but to the community of Lexington,” he said about the Smiths.

But more than that the opportunity to tell his story is exciting. “We normally speak other people’s words but it’s nice to every once in a while, speak your own mind as a human being onstage.”

The performers will only be in Lexington rehearsing together for a day leading up to the one performance. But DeLuca and the others have been working on their sets, combining music with the stories they want to tell.

“It’s been fun taking songs I love from pop culture and musicals and framing them around my life for the concert,” DeLuca said. “It’s like you’ll hear four mini-musicals about each of our lives throughout the evening.”

“It feels very odd to be in a role as ‘mentor’ at age 26,” DeLuca said, but he’s excited about that aspect of The LEX’s mission. He was “blown away” when he worked here in 2017 by The LEX’s focus on training college and high school performers through master classes and talk backs during rehearsals.

“A good company supports their employees by nurturing their talents and educating them.” DeLuca said, “And that’s exactly what The LEX is doing for the next generation of artists. It’s very inspiring.”

And it’s exciting for Lyndy Smith.

“You watch these young people rising, you watch their artistry growing” as they work with the stars during the fast-paced rehearsals. Although they are only together as a company for about 24 hours, the younger performers “start to rise to the level” of their mentors.

“Over the years there have been some breathtaking moments,” she said.

And — a final enticement — “Concert with the Stars” also includes a big reveal, presenting vignettes from the shows The LEX will offer in this summer season.

If you go

“Concert with the Stars”

When: 8 p.m. Jan. 5

Where: Lexington Opera House

Tickets: $35-$60 at Ticketmaster

The Lexington Theatre Company promotional company presents selections from “The Music Man” and “A Chorus Line,”the shows in the four-year-old company’s first two-show season.