Thursday, April 26, 2018
News Roundup

'Epic Broadway' brings Broadway hits to Spring Hill

SPRING HILL

If you love dancing…

If you love Broadway musicals…

If you love singing…

Then Epic Broadway is your show.

The creation of former Broadway performer John Leggio, now owner of John Leggio's Center for the Performing Arts in Spring Hill, the show features 120 singers and dancers performing numbers from a wide variety of Broadway hits, including The Phantom of the Opera, Wicked and American Idiot.

Shows will be June 27-29 at Springstead Theatre in Spring Hill.

The show is the culmination of a yearlong celebration of Leggio's 10th anniversary at the center and brings back fresh versions of numbers from previous shows.

"It's not a 'best of' kind of show," Leggio said during a break in rehearsals last week. "It's things we have done over the years that I have completely reworked."

Emphasis on "work."

Leggio puts his students through rehearsals that are like the ones he remembers from his years on Broadway.

"I sat them down and told them, 'I want you to see what it's like (during) a Broadway rehearsal,' " he said.

"We go nine hours a day," with breaks, he said. "Especially my Xcel kids."

These advanced students recently performed on the Royal Caribbean cruise line ship Brilliance of the Seas during a five-day cruise. Earlier, they were part of the ABC Disney Christmas parade with the cast of Broadway's Newsies, among many other appearances.

They'll be featured in the upcoming show, including in the 25 big production numbers. Even Leggio himself is joining the cast "in parts that need more boys," he said, referring to songs such as Step One from the show Kinky Boots.

Leggio has brought in big guns on his staff to get ready for this show, including international ballet star Israel Rodriquez, former Radio City Music Hall Rockette Kelly King and singer/actor Dan Johnson.

Johnson is also doing what he calls "cameo" spots in the show — Edna in Hairspray, Miss Hannigan from Annie and Lurch from The Addams Family.

The show is a swan song for four of Leggio's students who are headed for college after graduating from high school. Three of them — Hannah Hall, Alicia Randazzo and Melissa Scotti — are headed to Marymount Manhattan College, a liberal and performing arts school in New York. Frankie Johnson will attend the American Musical and Dramatic Academy, also in New York. Both schools have produced award-winning musical theater stars.

"They've been with me since they were babies," Leggio said of the four students. "Everybody's hearts are soooo into this.

"The lights, the costumes, the sets and music will all be what you want to see in any Broadway event like this, but the talent is what is going to stand out," Leggio said.

He watched with a slight smile as his students leapt, turned, kicked and sang in perfect unison.

"The school has finally become what I wanted from the beginning," he said.

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