Conductor John McDaniel is rapidly becoming a favorite with BPO pops audiences.
McDaniel made a couple of very well-received appearances last season, including a memorable holiday pops concert. Making his second appearance this season on Friday, McDaniel once again demonstrated his ability to charm an audience with a program aptly titled "From Broadway With Love."
McDaniel told the large audience that show tunes were "absolutely my very favorite kind of music" because it's "music that makes you feel great."
Offering a mix of both the old and the new Broadway, McDaniel led a performance that did indeed make the audience feel great.
Special guest singers Anne Runolfsson and Howard McGillen proved to be polished Broadway pros, whether singing alone or together.
After a lilting orchestral "Falling in Love With Love," Runolfsson belted out an impressive rendition of "Unexpected Song," followed by a very pure "I Could Have Danced All Night."
McDaniel followed the nicely loopy "Night Waltz" with his wistful piano solo version of "Someone Like You."
McGillen was warmly dramatic in "Not When I'm Around," following with an appropriately menacing "Music of the Night" from "The Phantom of the Opera", having called in sick, as McDaniel kidded, to his current role on Broadway to sing the same music with the BPO.
After leading a lively rendition of the "Funny Girl Overture," McDaniel played a solo piano medley of tunes from "Annie Get Your Gun" before leading a generous selection of numbers based on his own arrangements of Irving Berlin's music that are used in the current hit revival of that musical.
Runolfsson was humorously comic in "You Can't Get a Man With a Gun," changing her style completely for a deeply felt rendition of "Lost in His Arms." McGillen was suitably relaxed in "The Girl That I Marry," with both singers developing a real chemistry in the duets "They Say It's Wonderful" and especially in "An Old-Fashioned Wedding," which had them singing against each other.
Runolfsson and McGillen were equally fine in "People Will Say We're in Love" and especially memorable in "Tonight" from West Side Story, where their voices and vocal styles blended seamlessly.