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Soaring sounds of Rocktopia will fill The Palace Theatre | TribLIVE.com
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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.


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Among the featured artists performing in “Rocktopia” at the Palace Theatre at 7 p.m. on Oct. 24 will be guitarist Tony Bruno (music director for Enrique Iglesias and Rihanna and “America’s Got Talent.”)
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Grammy and Emmy Award-nominated violinist Máiréad Nesbitt (Celtic Woman, Lord of the Dance) and Rocktopia co-creator Rob Evan will perform in “Rocktopia” at the Palace Theatre at 7 p.m. on Oct. 24.
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Among the featured artists performing in “Rocktopia” at the Palace Theatre at 7 p.m. on Oct. 24 will be opera singer Alyson Cambridge (“The Merry Widow” at the Met Opera, “Madame Butterfly.”)
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Submitted
Chloe Lowery (Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Chris Botti, Yanni’s Voices) will be among the featured artists performing in “Rocktopia” at the Palace Theatre at 7 p.m. on Oct. 24.
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