BestArts Weekly Highlights, Thanksgiving Edition - November 21, 2008

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This Week's Selections

This week, we highlight performances by Natalie Weiss, Jeff Blumenkrantz, Matt Kacergis, Marla Mindelle, Zak Resnick, Shelly Bort, Chris Commisso, Jonathan Shew, Jason Robert Brown, Jesse Nager and Danny Calvert from the Broadway Boys, Ben Vereen, Max Kumangai, Michael Lowney, Ruth Pferdehirt, Jessica Hershberg, Garen McRoberts and more. We're including songs written by Jeff Blumenkrantz, Jason Robert Brown and Benj Pasek and Justin Paul.

How We Chose...

Last week, we focused on "Young Broadway" singers. This week, most of our highlights videos are from college performers and/or have some type of Thanksgiving theme in celebration of the American holiday.

  • We've been saving this video a long time - just for this week. Here's the amazing Boston Conservatory student (and Atlanta native - yay!) Matthew Kacergis singing Jeff Blumenkrantz' wonderful song "Giving Thanks" - with Jeff on piano.
  • Carnegie Mellon student Zak Resnick gives one of his best (which is VERY good) performances, "Try a Little Tenderness." The video is disappointingly dark, but the vocals (and Joe Etzine's piano) soar.
  • We've somehow overlooked Marla Mindelle in our highlights series. This week, we present her wonderful counterpoint duet with her Cincinnati College of Music (CCM) vocal instructor Pat Linhart of "Sooner or Later/The Man That Got Away."
  • Natalie Weiss probably has more great YouTube posts than any other young Broadway singer. We were introduced to Natalie's unstoppable talent while she was a senior at Penn State singing "I Believe in You and Me."
  • Jonathan Shew, a student at Syracuse University, was one of the winners of Jason Robert Brown's YouTube Karaoke contest and joined him at his recent NYC concert. We present Jonathan's performance from that night.
  • Max Kumangai is joined by Michael Lowney, Ruth Pferdehirt, Jessica Hershberg and Garen McRoberts to sing "Muddy Water" from Big River: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn at the Spring 2008 "Lost in Ann Arbor" concert at U of M.
Young Broadway
  • Shelly Bort is one of our favorites. She shines again with her performance of Jason Robert Brown's "Someone to Fall Back On."
Best of YouTube
  • Unlike most singers, Chris Commisso's original songs are even better than his knock-out covers. "Go Easy On the Girl" is one of his best compositions/performances/videos and is included on his new CD.
  • The Broadway Boys hold their annual Christmas concert on December 1. Members Jesse Nager and Danny Calvert sing Pasek and Paul's "You Can Believe In Me."
  • We love "Aureole" because it demonstrates so clearly how the best of dance is passed forward, not lost. For arts lovers, that's reason for thanks. The second half of the video alternates between performances of "Aureole" by Paul Taylor in 1962 and his protege Patrick Corbin in 1998.
Best of BestArts
  • In the current economic climate, many people in America and around the world are struggling harder than ever to give themselves and their children a better life. We thought Ben Vereen's performance of "Life is Just a Bowl of Cherries" was a nice reminder that wealth is not a true measure of worth. Our thoughts and prayers are with you for a better year ahead.

Thank you viewers

It's been a fun fourteen months working on BestArts. Our Broadway and Dance videos have been viewed over 5,000,000 times, so we're pretty confident you've enjoyed it too. For the last several months, we've spent a lot of time highlighting great young performers. We hope we've introduced you to a number of new artists and that you'll continue to explore the worlds of musical theatre and dance with us in the future.

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Giving Thanks

About This Video

Giving Thanks
  • Marla Mindelle, "THE MAN THAT GOT AWAY" - 04:08
  • 4.84 stars / 430
  • mrsclaus456
Natalie Weiss:  I Believe in You and Me
  • Natalie Weiss: I Believe in You and Me - 04:08
  • 4.85 stars / 453
  • jhughespspb
You Can Believe In Me
  • You Can Believe In Me - 05:13
  • 4.96 stars / 99
  • jessedn23
Max Kumangai sings Muddy Water
  • Max Kumangai sings "Muddy Water" - 01:34
  • 4.89 stars / 35
  • urintown
Jonathan Shew - King of the World with Jason Robert Brown
  • Jonathan Shew - "King of the World" with Jason Robert Brown - 04:26
  • 4.87 stars / 63
  • trpguyy
Go Easy On The Girl - original song by Chris Commisso
  • Go Easy On The Girl - original song by Chris Commisso - 03:42
  • 4.92 stars / 105
  • chriscommissomusic
Someone to Fall Back On by Jason Robert Brown
  • "Someone to Fall Back On" by Jason Robert Brown - 04:52
  • 4.98 stars / 188
  • sbort
Life Is Just A Bowl of Cherries (Reprise) - Ben Vereen - Fosse
  • Life Is Just A Bowl of Cherries (Reprise) - Ben Vereen - Fosse - 03:23
  • 4.93 stars / 114
  • bestartsfosse

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