Soaring sounds of Rocktopia will fill The Palace Theatre
A fusion of classic and contemporary music known as Rocktopia – which brings together a full symphony orchestra with a rock band, vocalists and choir for an indescribably unique sound – is back on tour following its first successful six-week limited run on Broadway this spring.
Actor, singer and producer Rob Evan (“Les Miserables” “Jekyll Hyde” on Broadway and Trans-Siberian Orchestra), co-creator of Rocktopia with Maestro Randall Craig Fleischer (San Francisco Symphony), still can’t fully explain why the marriage of musical genres works – but it does, in a big way.
“Randy and I love the classics – but we cut our teeth on rock,” Evan said. “We thought we should find a way to fuse them together.”
Their idea was solidified when the inaugural performance of their show, “Rocktopia: Live from Budapest,” was recorded in front of a live audience in June 2016 at the 19th century Hungarian State Opera House for PBS.
The Budapest Philharmonic Orchestra with six vocalists, a five-piece rock band, the Hungarian State Opera Chorus, and the Jazz and More Choir toured some 20 U.S. cities that year, featuring local symphonies and choirs, on a train that hasn’t slowed down since.
Their Broadway debut brought together Train’s Pat Monahan, Cheap Trick’s Robin Zander and Twisted Sister’s Dee Snyder as guest artists.
“Seeing the audience reaction — then and now — fuels us to keep going,” Evan said. “People love this concept. Now we know our vision is working.”
This year’s tour – which stops at The Palace Theatre for one performance on Oct. 24 – features a diverse group of rock, Broadway and opera stars: Rob Evan; Chloe Lowery (Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Chris Botti, Yanni’s Voices); Tony Vincent (Broadway: “Rent,” NBC’s “The Voice”); and Alyson Cambridge (“The Merry Widow” at the Met Opera, “Madame Butterfly”) and world-class musicians, including Grammy and Emmy Award-nominated violinist Máiréad Nesbitt (Celtic Woman, Lord of the Dance) and acclaimed guitarist Tony Bruno (music director for Enrique Iglesias and Rihanna and “America’s Got Talent”).
“Everybody is so diverse; we’re not a tribute band, we’re not a cover band,” Evan said. “When Chloe sings ‘I Want to Know What Love Is,’ she takes it to a whole different level.”
The co-creator says he hopes to take Rocktopia to Europe; he’d also like to eventually audition for movies as an actor. But for now, he’s celebrating the success of a creative idea that continues to grow – and he invites audiences to experience the sound and vision that is Rocktopia.
Candy Williams is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.