Showtunes highlight diverse program in April 24 season finale

Time-travel through six decades of magical moments from the Broadway stage. Take a sentimental journey to romance. Thrill to soul and rock ’n’ roll. And dance the night away, all without leaving your seat.

Pack a world of entertainment into one evening when Lamar University ’s Cardinal Singers and Lamar Dance Company combine talents April 24 for the grand finale to the Lamarissimo! concert series’ 2007-2008 season. Show time is 7:30 p.m. for the for the performance in the Julie Rogers Theatre , sponsored by Entergy Texas.

“As always, we try to appeal to a wide variety of audiences,” said Eduardo Garcia-Novelli, Lamar’s director of choral activities, including the Cardinal Singers. “And this year will be very special because our concert features best-loved show tunes from award-winning Broadway musicals.

“‘The Wiz,’ ‘Guys and Dolls,’ ‘A Chorus Line,’ ‘Sweet Charity,’ ‘Pajama Game,’ ‘Hairspray,’ ‘The Fantastics’ . . . What do they all have in common? The Cardinal Singers will perform highlights from all of these shows,”  Garcia-Novelli said.  “And that is not all. There will be ‘A Tribute to Queen,’ the famous rock band led by the talented Freddy Mercury, plus a selection of best-loved jazz tunes and much more.”

Lamar Dance Company highlights include performances to music ranging from Fiona Apple to Savan, including works choreographed by Lou Arrington, director of the dance company, and Tanya McCullor, choreographer for the Cardinal Singers.

A native of Argentina , Garcia-Novelli joined the Lamar faculty in 2002. Arrington is a 28-year veteran of teaching dance and choreographing for area stages and has been an adjunct instructor since 1998. McCullor is a 1994 graduate of Vidor High School who performed with the Lamar Dance Company. She divides her time between the Cardinal Singers and teaching at private dance studios.

Members of the Cardinal Singers are Henry “Tres” Brown and Quintin Coleman of Beaumont; Brandon Rhodes of Channelview; Hillary Gray, Brittany Richmond, Amanda Sauceda, Jacob Wills and Courtney Wind, all of Nederland; and Haleigh Still and Nolan Thornal of Orange.

Featured in the Lamar Dance Company are Claire Connally, Brittany Hightower, Courtney King, Catherine Shelton, Hallie Singletary and Kristin Still, all of Beaumont ; Katy King, Hamshire; Kayla Veitch, Port Neches; Brooke Doyle, Silsbee; Jennifer Mikel, Sweeny; and Katie Beard, Vidor.

Lamarissimo! on Broadway spans the decades from the 1950s through 2000s, beginning with “Luck Be A Lady” from “Guys and Dolls” (1950) and “Steam Heat” from “Pajama Game” (1954) to a medley from “The Fantasticks” (1960) and  “Big Spender” from “Sweet Charity” (1966) to “What I Did for Love” from “A Chorus Line” (1975) and “Ease on Down the Road” from “The Wiz” (1975), “You Can’t Stop the Beat” from “Hairspay” (2002) and a medley from “Jersey Boys” (2005).

The “Hairspray” show-stopper will combine talents of both  the Cardinal Singers and the Lamar Dance Company, as will “We Will Rock You,” the concert opener.

Dance stagings include “Danny’s All Star Joint,” to music by Rickie Lee Jones, and “Tap Bureau is Back,” both choreographed by Arrington, the latter featuring Beard, Connally, Doyle, Hightower, Courtney King, Still and Veitch.

McCullor’s  “Extraordinary Machine,” is set to the music of Fiona Apple, featuring Connally, Courtney and Katie King, Still and Veitch, and “Let’s Dance” choreographed by Arrington, assisted by McCullor, interprets music by Birgisson, Anthor/Kotecha and Savan.

The Cardinal Singers also will perform“There You’ll Be” by Diane Warren,” Isaac Hayes’ and David Porter’s “Soul Man,” “C’mon Everybody” and, on a nostalgic note, the classic “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love” By Dorothy Field and Jimmy McHugh and “Sentimental Journey Medley.”

The concert is open to Lamarissimo! season ticket-holders as part of the five-performance package. Individual tickets, priced at $12 for adults and $8 for students, will be available at the theatre box office starting at 6:45 p.m. the night of the concert. Admission is free to students of Lamar University in Beaumont with valid LU identification.

A special order form in the concert program will enable patrons to order 2008-2009 Lamarissimo! season tickets by mail.

Additional information about the concert or the upcoming season is available from the Lamar University Department of Music, Theatre & Dance, phone (409) 880-8144.