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September 15, 2014
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Curtain calls, concerts and cowgirls

Incredible production values added to the Celtic Woman extravaganza at Bethel Woods opening night concert under the stars.


One of the judges, country crooner Ryan Broshear, entertained after the competition and boy howdy, this guy blew the roof off the place with (IMHO) amazing vocal prowess and an incredible stage presence more electrifying than the weather. Although I was previously unaware of Broshear, I will be following his career now (www.ryanbroshear.com) and I suspect that it’s only a matter of time before he hits the main stage at Bethel Woods, making the ladies swoon and grown men cry. I’ve been wrong before (on occasion), but mark my words—this guy is gonna be huge.

Another sure sign that summer is here is opening night at Bethel Woods (www.bethelwoodscenter.org), which occurred last Saturday with another attraction that has escaped my attention up to this point—“Celtic Woman.” More than a musical act, this show is a production of epic proportions. Conceived and assembled by Sharon Browne and David Downes (a former musical director of the Irish stage show “Riverdance”), the extravaganza has embarked on their 2013 tour and has sold millions of albums worldwide. While I enjoyed the spectacle, I was surprisingly unmoved.

The women are gorgeous, and the lighting and staging absolutely sumptuous. Pitch-perfect harmonies, combined with flawless choreography and a talented ensemble filling the stage should have been enough to make anyone happy to experience the show, but for some reason, I found the show to be too perfect, too rehearsed and too mechanical for my taste. Over the years, the group’s lineup has changed repeatedly, and the website (www.celticwoman.com) says that none of the ladies actually knew each other prior to the show being conceived, which could explain the clinical experience that left me cold. One of the great aspects of Bethel Woods is the diverse roster of entertainment offered each season, so while the ladies might not have won me over, there is a wide variety of shows to come.