Valdosta Daily Times

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October 6, 2013

Confessions of a Broadway Boy

Nationally touring show plays Monday in Valdosta

VALDOSTA — One of the things Omar Lopez-Cepero loves about being a member of the Broadway Boys is he can perform on Broadway in a show like “American Idiot,” or tour with “Evita,” or perform on television specials like the Grammy and Tony awards, then return to the rotating stable of performers in the Broadway Boys.

The Broadway Boys provides Lopez-Cepero with work in between national tours and Broadway gigs, while his and other performers’ Broadway résumés add to the Broadway Boys prestige.

This week, Lopez-Cepero and the Broadway Boys bring that talent, experience and allure to Valdosta as part of the Annette Howell Turner Center for the Arts Presenter Series.

In six-part harmony, Broadway Boys presents Broadway tunes from the old standards of musicals past to more recent New York hits to pop songs from radio-hit shows. As long as a song has been performed in a Broadway show, it can be included in a Broadway Boys show — all presented with “a contemporary edge.” Audiences can expect the full spectrum of Broadway influences from traditional show tunes, gospel, pop, country, punk rock and opera.

This genre diversity appeals to Lopez-Cepero.

“It can bring you a new way of hearing, say, a Gershwin piece,” Lopez-Cepero says, while introducing audiences to relatively new music.

A Georgian, he grew up an athlete in Duluth. His parents had no musical background. In high school, he had a teacher who directed him toward music. Inspired by this new interest, his parents encouraged Omar. He earned a full scholarship and studied classical musical at the University of Miami.

So he studied opera, performed opera, “but opera felt confining.” he says. Lopez-Cepero wanted more. He moved toward musical theatre.

He describes being cast in a Broadway show as “a pinch yourself kind of moment.” He was a swing performer in “American Idiot,” the Bush-era musical based on the rock music of the band Green Day.

As a swing performer, Lopez-Cepero had to know several roles. If a cast member could not take the stage, he took the actor’s place, often at the last minute.

“You know so many different roles,” Lopez-Cepero says, “the swing is almost irreplaceable.”

He brings this irrepressible, irreplaceable quality to his role in the Broadway Boys — a role that is close to Lopez-Cepero’s heart. After all, he plays himself.

The Broadway Boys is a revue show, with the emphasis on singing rather than dance, but the performers also share real moments from their lives as a sort of non-fictional “Chorus Line.”

Come Monday, Valdosta’s Presenter Series will be a new moment in his life.

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