By Michael Gioia
09 Dec 2013
Photo by Monica Simoes
In the scene where Amanda stands atop a bridge, contemplating suicide and singing "Broadway, Here I Come!" (accompanied in the concert by its writer, Joe Iconis), Manolakos sang from the far right corner of 54 Below — standing on a countertop, behind a railing — to suspend reality and make the audience believe she was truly "falling through the sky." The song "Reach for Me" — a number penned by Andrew McMahon that featured the character of The Diva dangling from silks in Hit List on TV — featured a chicly dressed Rodriguez performing on 54 Below's center table. Audience members directly underneath Rodriguez made a quick grab for their phones to capture the moment.
Molly Hager, Eric Michael Krop, Julia Mattison and Monet Julia Sabel provided backup vocals throughout the evening, which featured tight harmonies and vocal arrangements by music director Benjamin Rauhala, orchestrations by Charlie Rosen and band members Rauhala, Rosen, Shannon Ford, Alisa Horn, Dennis Michael Keefe and Hiroko Taguchi.
Composers Iconis, Gasparini, Paul and McMahon made special appearances at the piano throughout the evening, while Pasek offered a brief acting cameo at the end of the show. (The Tony-nominated songwriter was later congratulated by numerous fans and friends for his polished acting chops.)
As the night came to a close (and The Diva had the last say in which actress would take the final bow in Hit List), Manolakos and Jordan offered heartfelt versions of Lucie Silvas' "Heart Shaped Wreckage" and Shaiman and Wittman's "The Love I Meant to Say." "Smash" showrunner Safran smiled in the back corner alongside co-producer Tepper, an avid "Smash" fan and the driving force behind bringing the musical to life at 54 Below.
The venue erupted when a group of 40 actors flooded the aisles for "The Goodbye Song," the Hit List finale and a new anthem for the rising generation of contemporary musical theatre.
(Playbill.com staff writer Michael Gioia's work appears in the news, feature and video sections of Playbill.com as well as in the pages of Playbill magazine. Follow him on Twitter at @PlaybillMichael.)