Stage & Dance

Concert with the Stars brings Broadway veterans to Lexington

Krysta Rodriguez.
Krysta Rodriguez. Invision/AP

What does it take to get to Broadway? The Lexington Theatre Company’s annual Concert with the Stars will offer some clues.

In its third year, Sunday afternoon’s show will present four Broadway actors singing songs and sharing memories that have defined their careers, performing alongside student actors who hope to walk in the stars’ shoes someday.

The grand finale will be the announcement of this year’s summer production by the Lexington Theatre Company, which presented “42nd Street” in 2015 and “Mary Poppins” last year.

“It’s coming right along,” artistic director Lyndy Franklin Smith, herself a Broadway veteran, says of the company. “‘42nd Street’ started us off with a bang, and ‘Mary Poppins’ was magical, and our audiences really grew. From one summer to the next, we saw substantial growth.”

This summer’s show will be July 20 to 23, and like previous editions, it will have stage veterans in the leading roles performing with community, collegiate and high school talent.

Watching the young artists get to stand next to their role models — the people they want to be when they grow up — and get to perform with them, there’s really nothing quite like it.

Lyndy Franklin Smith, Lexington Theatre Company artistic director

One familiar face Sunday to folks who have followed the company from the beginning will be Lexington native and Tony Award nominee Laura Bell Bundy, who appeared in the first concert and treated the audience to formative numbers of her career, including “Proud Mary,” in a performance that would have made Tina Turner proud.

“We’re calling it a little sentimental journey, singing songs that have really influenced her and songs of artists that have really influenced her along the way,” Franklin said of Bundy, who recently appeared in the second season of the Netflix series “Fuller House” and starred in the UP TV network movie “Season’s Greetings.”

Bundy joins three other stars, including Leslie Kritzer, who played Serena to Bundy’s Elle Woods in “Legally Blonde — the Musical” and just finished a run in Broadway’s “Something Rotten,” which had her sharing the stage with Frankfort’s Will Chase for a few months.

They will be joined by Krysta Rodriguez, who should be familiar to fans of the NBC drama “Smash,” in which she played Ana Vargas. On stage, Rodriguez created the role of Wednesday Addams in “The Addams Family” musical, performed in “A Chorus Line” with Franklin, played in both Broadway editions of “Spring Awakening” and was in the ensemble for “Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda’s first hit, “In the Heights.”

Rounding out the lineup is Matthew Scott, whose Broadway credits include “Jersey Boys” and “An American in Paris.”

“He’s super fun,” Franklin says. “They’re all a great group and super excited to come.”

One of the exciting things Franklin gets to do is notify some of the collegiate performers that they’ve been selected to perform with the stars.

“Those tend to be some of my favorites of the show, because watching the young artists get to stand next to their role models — the people they want to be when they grow up — and get to perform with them, there’s really nothing quite like it,” she says.

Some of them might not be far from Broadway themselves. School for the Creative and Performing Arts graduate Colton Ryan was in last year’s ensemble and is now in the cast of “Dear Evan Hansen” on Broadway. And 2015 Concert with the Stars artist Elliott Mattox is in the cast for the forthcoming “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.”

Rich Copley: 859-231-3217, @LexGoKY.

If you go

Concert with the Stars

What: The Lexington Theatre Company’s annual event, featuring stars of Broadway and film performing with collegiate musical theater students.

When: 3 p.m. Jan. 8

Where: Lexington Opera House, 401 W. Short St.

Tickets: $35-$60

Phone: 859-233-3535

Online: Lexingtonoperahouse.com, Lexingtontheatrecompany.org

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