Broadway Inspirational Voices (BIV) PRESENTS “Broadway Our Way,” a video series celebrating some of Broadway’s greatest songs performed the BIV way
by Kate Chapman
In the series, BIV director and founder, Michael McElroy, brings BIV’s unique sound to songs written by some of Broadway’s most iconic composers. Choosing songs by composers he has worked with over the past 20 years, each song holds a special place in his heart. To launch the series, Michael created an arrangement of “No More Wasted Time” from the musical “If/Then” that played the Richard Rodger Theatre and starred “RENT” pals Anthony Rapp and Idina Menzel (Disney’s “Frozen”, Tony award winner for “Wicked”). When asked about this particular song, McElroy says, “I love Tom and Brian’s work. When I was looking at songs to arrange for the “Broadway Our Way” series, I knew I wanted to use something of their work. I had been on a huge “If/Then” kick, listening to it every day at the gym. The lyrics of this song had a positive and uplifting message that could be taken out of the context of the show and be in line with BIV’s musical voice, which is always to empower folks.” Additionally, Tom Kitt played for BIV’s first cabaret show in 2004. Tom and Brian Yorkey (along with Sting) have also worked with BIV in the Ronald McDonald House outreach program, making them an already integral part of the BIV family.
The video series highlights the expansive beauty that can be added to Broadway songs when performed in the Gospel style. The videos will be introduced by the original composer or members of the original casts or performing companies, and then interpreted by BIV’s members. When asked about using the Gospel style, rather than a traditional choral sound, McElroy points out, “Gospel has a drive and feel that is its own unique thing – all the different ways to approach the sound, making it heavier or lighter, straight tone or vibrato. Some songs I lock into the arrangement on the first try. Some songs take 3 or 4 until it feels “right.” There is a jump off moment when I hear the groove or feel of the arrangement in my head – then it’s about the work of making it perfect, measure by measure.” These videos are an exciting new way to experience songs the listener is already familiar with, and to introduce more Broadway fans to the uplifting sound of Gospel.