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Backstage Theatre offers ‘A Taste of Broadway’

KIMBERLY NICOLETTI
summit daily news
Douglas Webster
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Douglas Webster has come a long way since he was a kid in the 1970s, watching the black-caped villain and white-hatted hero melodramas the Backstage Theatre’s actors regularly performed.

Webster has built a reputation as one of the nation’s most accomplished and versatile singers, both on and off Broadway. Critics consider him the foremost interpreter of the role of the Celebrant in Leonard Bernstein’s “MASS,” which he has presented at the Vatican in Rome, Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center’s 40th anniversary in Dallas, Texas. He has starred as Jean Valjean in Broadway’s “Les Miserables” and has myriad credits, ranging from international radio broadcasts to being the voice of Prince Charming on Telarc Records’ “A Disney Spectacular.”

But all his fame hasn’t gone to his head. Last year, he traveled the country performing “Les Miserables,” but before that, he was living in an “artist’s shack” in Fairplay, working as the musical director at the small town’s high school.

This year, he and his wife are living in Portland, Ore., because she is a concert cellist, and she wanted to perform with a couple of Portland theaters. Douglas will focus on singing with symphonies, theater companies, and with his group, the Broadway Baritones, throughout the nation, but he won’t leave his Breckenridge roots far behind: Thursday, he’ll sing at the Backstage’s “A Taste of Broadway,” and he’s also planning a special recital in Breckenridge next month.

“It’s kind of a giggle to walk in and do theater at (the former) Shamus O’Tooles,” Douglas said. “It has a nice, happy vibe.”

Douglas donates his time to help out the theater, and he’s especially pleased by the Backstage’s fiscal responsibility – and how it raises money. He calls Thursday’s Taste of Broadway a “friend-raiser,” because it combines fundraising with friends of the organization.

And, artistic director Christopher Willard couldn’t be happier to have such a familiar face appear on stage.

“(Webster) has a spectacular voice and a dynamic stage presence,” Willard said. “Wait ’til you hear him sing some of these Broadway standards. He’ll melt your heart.”

The evening includes not only Douglas, but also other great talent, including cast members from “The Fantasticks” (Matthew Dailey, Whitney Semin, David Ambroson and Mary Gottlieb), as well as Lisa Finnerty, a Denver singer featured in many shows at Littleton’s Town Hall.

The program feastures songs from “Phantom of the Opera,” “South Pacific,” “Les Miserables,” “Carousel,” “Camelot,” “The Last Five Years,” “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” “Oliver,” “Secret Garden,” “Evita” and more.


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