Barbra, Bette, and Bernadette Come Alive As “The Queen B’s Of Broadway”

Barbra, Bernadette & Bette come alive
Freehold theater to present ‘Queen B’s of Broadway’

FREEHOLD – Take five talented women, put them in the same room with the musical direction of Vic Schioppo, and the musical genius of three entertainment icons and what you have is one heck of a show.

The show is “The Queen B’s of Broadway” and the venue is Freehold Borough’s own intimate theater at 35 South St.

Center Players will present the musical revue to honor three of Broadway’s most loved icons, Barbra Streisand, Bette Midler and Bernadette Peters.

According to Schioppo, the three women each have a unique style, yet they also share common threads.

“They share a love for great American music and lyrics, they have all studied and honored the female performers who graced the stage and screen long before their coming of age, they all have their own original works, and most of all, they have all touched our hearts,” he said.

“I had the concept to put together a musical revue that was not based upon a particular composer or show, or an individual performer, because this becomes limiting,” Schioppo said. “I was looking for a way to get songs, composers, Broadway shows and memories all tied together. And the common thread was these three women.

“Their work crosses over all those boundaries and all three have made their mark on Broadway, as well as in movies and recordings. They have been the overwhelming choice of so many Broadway producers, directors and composers, and they have all had leading roles in musicals and movies, as well as in musical revues,” he said.

Schioppo said he is honored to bring his concept to fruition with Center Players.

“I was looking for a variety of singers and all five cast members have different voices, but all of them, like the Broadway icons, share a love of great American songbook music, the Broadway stage and pop tunes. They work differently, but when put together, they achieve what I wanted to accomplish,” he said.

Schioppo has had his own musical group, The Grants, for more than 35 years and has performed locally in and conducted community theater orchestras for the past decade. Some of his credits include “Fiddler on the Roof,” “Gypsy” “Carousel,” “The Wizard of Oz,” “Kiss Me Kate,” and “Love: June, Moon, Spoon.”

The five ladies who will be performing the works of Streisand, Midler and Peters in “The Queen B’s of Broadway” are Bethe Burns, of Freehold Township, Yvette Cataneo, of Freehold Borough, Kelly Rice, of Ocean Township, Brenda Schofield, of Marlboro, and Janet Tartaglia, of Lincroft.

Burns has performed in numerous shows and cabarets and is a member of the all-female a capella doo-wop group StreetHeart. She said she is having a wonderful time being a part of “The Queen B’s of Broadway.”

“As a singer, you hear somebody say Barbra Streisand, Bette Midler and Bernadette Peters, and you just say yes,” she explained.

Rice, a theater studies major at Montclair State University and the youngest member of the cast, has previously appeared in “The Vagina Monologues,” “Pippin” and “Into the Woods.”

Tartaglia has been a singer/actress for many years and has appeared in various New York City showcases, cabaret theater and nightclubs.

She said, “The voices here are wonderful. It’s a pleasure to work with these ladies. All of them are so talented.”

Cataneo is a native of Illinois and has a degree in vocal performance. Her starring roles include Papagena in “The Magic Flute,” Yum Yum in “The Mikado” and Adele in “Die Fledermaus.”

Schofield, a classically trained singer, has appeared as Golde in “Fiddler on the Roof,” and Bloody Mary in “South Pacific.”

“This is my first experience with Center Players,” Schofield said, adding that the experience has been “fabulous.”

“I’ve been doing this a long time and I have never been part of so much talent in one show. Never,” she said.

Schofield previously worked with Schioppo in a production of “Aladdin” with the Marlboro Players. In addition to singing, Schofield also plays the piano and acts.

Songs in “The Queen B’s of Broadway” will include such favorites as “The Wind Beneath My Wings,” “The Rose,” “You Gotta Have Friends,” “Second Hand Rose,” “I’m the Greatest Star” and “People,” among others.

Performances of “The Queen B’s of Broadway” will begin June 26 and run through July 19 (Friday through Sunday only). For ticket information call 732-462- 9093. Admission is $24 per person; $22 for senior citizens and students, or for groups of 10 or more. Admission includes a complimentary beverage and dessert during intermission. Seating is limited.

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