SCRANTON — Although they aren’t located anywhere near “42nd Street,” a group of area singers are currently in a “New York State of Mind” as they prepare for a concert they hope will leave audience members “Feelin’ Good.”
Mostly Opera will present these and more recognizable tunes during its annual dinner theater, with this year’s theme of “New York, New York,” Saturday, Oct. 29 at the Hilton Scranton and Conference Center, 100 Adams Ave. Appetizers and a cash bar will be available starting at 6 p.m. and dinner and the show will begin at 7 p.m.
Mark Knox, of Clarks Summit, a tenor, is now in his second year with the volunteer professional opera organization and described its shows as “very creative.”
“I think it’s a really impressively talented group of people,” he said. “In an area like ours, a lot of times people think that there isn’t culture, or things like that, but the caliber of performers that come together in this group – I was surprised.”
He added not only are the singers talented, but they are also fun to work with. He said although it would be hard to pick one favorite out of the many numbers slated for this show, he especially enjoys the ones in which everyone performs together.
“There’s a lot of solo work, which is great – people will enjoy that very much,” he said. “But as a performer, it’s a somewhat isolating thing. You practice alone, you sing alone. So to get to have that interaction with the group is the most fun for me, and I think the audience will really enjoy it, too.”
He said some of the ensembles also include light choreography, which “amps up the activity of the performance.”
Executive Director Helene Tinsley said a lot of the songs in this year’s show trace the history of Broadway and many are composed by New York natives.
“When we did our research, we found there are hundreds of songs that either had the words ‘New York’ in them or talked about New York, and we’re going to include a lot of them in our show,” she said.
Dancers from the Scranton Civic Ballet will also add to the show.
Another Abington area resident performing with the group is Greg Cali, of Dalton.
“He’s a fine baritone and he’s going to be singing a great song by Anthony Newley from ‘The Roar of the Greasepaint,’” Tinsley said. “It’s an old show and it (the song) is called ‘Feelin’ Good.’”
The singers, all of whom donate their time and talent to the cause, will be accompanied by the Mostly Opera Ensemble, a six-piece orchestra.
Mostly Opera was formed in 2000, with the merger of two groups: N.E Opera and Encore! OPERA IV. Edwin Utan is president and Linda Houck is the musical director. The group consists of 40 singers from the greater Scranton, Wilkes-Barre, Hazleton and East Stroudsburg areas.
A lot of these singers have been with the group for many years, while others are more recent members.
“We always introduce new singers, because our goal is to keep opera alive in our area,” Tinsley said.
After all, “There’s No Business Like Show Business.”
Tickets for the show cost $65 and include a gourmet full course dinner and concert. The reservation deadline is Wednesday, Oct. 26 and checks can be mailed to Mostly Opera, 142 N. Washington Ave., Suite 800, Scranton, PA 18503.