With the return of live performances, many have been looking forward to getting back into the groove of normalcy when it comes to the arts. At Bristol Riverside Theater, there is plenty to look forward to on that front for the upcoming summer season in their brand-new amphitheater.
The Bucks County theater has been a staple for many city-dwellers and suburbians for a variety of shows over the past four decades. Since its opening in 1986, Bristol has received 71 Barrymore Award nominations for Excellence in Theatre on top of providing their staple summer series every year. BRT offers the William Penn Bank Summer Music Fest, including the holiday tradition ‘An American Christmas Songbook Concert’, the new play development series America Rising, the summer theatre arts camp ArtRageous, and a range of education programs for local youth. But it’s the music fest that will be making a splash this summer, a year and a half after the pandemic virtually shut down all performances.
This BRT summer tradition continues under the leadership of former BRT Artistic Director Keith Baker and features several of BRT’s favorite voices in a slew of different themed concerts, and the first kicks off this weekend.
According to a release, in the first concert, BRT will take audiences down memory lane with the greatest hits from Broadway —from ‘My Fair Lady’ to ‘Wicked’. The theater company will be welcoming back some familiar faces with this particular show featuring the vocals of Derrick Cobey, Elyse Langley, Rebecca Robbins, and Sean Thompson. Audiences can expect to hear their favorites from Rodgers and Hammerstein, Stephen Sondheim, and Jason Robert Brown along with hits from ‘Young Frankenstein’, ‘Frozen’, ‘Hamilton’, and much more from June 18 to 20.
“It’s the same great summer entertainment that people expect from BRT only now it’s outdoors, under the stars, with food,” said BRT Producing Director Ken Kaissar in a statement. “Rather than being cooped up in a theatre, audiences can kick off their shoes and dance along while listening to the great sounds of wonderful music. It’s everything summertime should be.”
After the Broadway renditions, Philadelphians can also gear up for a blast from the past in the form of a tribute concert to the decade that brought us Madonna, Billy Joel, and Foreigner. In this show, BRT favorites Demetria Joyce Bailey, Derrick Cobey, Laura Giknis, and Sean Thompson will be singing some of the most classic songs from the 80s during the show’s run from July 16 to 18.
Later this summer, those who still want to take a trip down memory lane can head to the 70s flashback concert from July 30 to 31. From Carole King and Three Dog Night, to The Doobie Brothers and Led Zeppelin, to Studio 54 and CBGB, 70’s Flashback invites you to step back in time, as they bring to life the soundtrack of a generation. As the release states, their high-energy, show-stopping performance will have audiences singing along to every iconic lyric, dancing in the aisles, and re-living the promise of the grooviest music ever written.
Bristol is also returning to the Broadway theme come August in their series with songs from the Broadway shows just waiting to shine again. Audiences will hear fan favorites from ‘Come From Away’, ‘Moulin Rouge’, ‘Company’ and more. The performances for this particular show are Aug. 13 and 14 and a matinee performance on Aug. 15.
Lastly, to round up the seasonal series, visitors can check out the special Doo Wop Project that will be hitting the stage from Aug. 27 to 28. This particular showcase will feature stars from the Broadway hits ‘Jersey Boys’, ‘Motown: The Musical’, and ‘A Bronx Tale’ to “bring unparalleled authenticity of sound and vocal excellence to recreate—and in some cases entirely reimagine—the greatest music in American pop and rock history.
Tickets for all shows run from $35-$40 for select performances and are available online along with a full schedule. Subscriptions for the three BRT produced shows (Broadway Memories, Totally Awesome 80s, and Broadway Ahead) are $90.
The shows are family-friendly, and seating is socially distanced. Masks are required when not seated. Food trucks will be on-site. No alcohol permitted. All seating is general admission. For information, visit brtstage.org