Thursday, April 19, 2018
Thanks to Michael J. Moritz Jr., Monday’s “From Broadway with Love” concert in Florida – which raised money for survivors of the mass shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland – had a Youngstown flavor.
Moritz is a Boardman native who has been a producer and musical director on Broadway for several years.
He had worked on the Broadway benefit concerts after the tragedies at Sandy Hook, Conn., and Orlando, Fla., and was tapped to be musical director and conductor of the Parkland concert, which featured many Broadway, film and television stars as vocalists.
“Once I started to see the massive undertaking the project was becoming, I made plans to [assemble] a production staff from people I’ve known, worked with and have called friends for the better part of my life,” said Moritz.
He brought in more than a dozen Mahoning Valley natives, each of whom also volunteered their time and talent.
Billy LaGuardia handled audio, with recording engineer Brandon Loewit supervising. The production was filmed for television by Khaled Tabbara (serving as director of photography), Katianne Timko, Lake Baum, Chris Rutushin, Matt Stevens, JP Robles and Dan Mizicko.
“Because of the sheer magnitude of the tech needs for lighting, truss, PA, staffing and production support, I didn’t have a high comfort level working with a new production company,” said Moritz. “So I made a call to FortyTwo Event Productions (of Boardman). Tony Ferrello and Tom Baclawski put together an exceptional PA, lighting, truss and LED wall package for us and brought their entire Youngstown-based team to Florida to supervise and support. FortyTwo was amazing, and our Broadway-based crew was beyond impressed.”
Moritz conducted a 60-person orchestra, comprised of Broadway musicians and the South Florida Philharmonic. Boardman High School alumni Adam DeAscentis and Joe Graziosi played bass and keyboards, respectively.
The group of vocalists included many well-known stars of stage and screen. But it also included Canfield native Elysia Shutrump Jordan, whom Moritz enlisted. Jordan, by the way, is currently performing on the national tour of the Broadway musical “School of Rock.”
“It was a total treat to look around at any moment from the stage and see so many of my long-time friends and colleagues from home joining together to do something good for Parkland,” said Moritz. “It was an unforgettable evening of song and love.”
Moritz is also producing a DVD and CD of the concert, which will be available in the near future at broadwayrecords.com.
Guy D’Astolfo covers entertainment for The Vindicator.