For the crowd-pleasing show’s return to the West Long Branch campus, Bravo Amici delivered its signature mix of favorite operatic arias (La Traviata’s “Brindisi”), modern Broadway classics (Phantom’s “All I Ask of You”), and songbook surprises (Dean Martin’s novelty “That’s Amore”) — with an extra dimension of relevance to the Autism Day cause, and a special treat in store for the Monmouth audience.
Produced in partnership with the New Jersey chapter of the nonprofit Autism Speaks, the concert fundraised for the organization’s mission of advocacy, awareness and ongoing research to aid individuals and families affected by autism. The partnership is also one that carries a personal element for Sewell, as he and his wife Simone are themselves parents to an autistic daughter, Sienna.
For the April 2 concert, a special video for the original song “Heal Me” — co-written by the Sewells, and featuring Sienna as well as her sister Olivia — screened above the Pollak Theatre stage.
As an additional component of the alliance with Autism Speaks NJ, the concert was presented concurrent with the opening of ART+AUTISM, a juried exhibition designed to showcase the work of artists living with Autism Spectrum Disorder, and to illustrate the ways in which art helps those individuals and the community to understand and address the challenges of living with autism.
All featured art works were offered for sale (with a portion of proceeds dedicated to Autism Speaks NJ), in the exhibition that hosted its free, public-invited April 2 opening reception from 5 to 7 p.m., with the art remaining on display through May 31 at the theatre building’s in-house Pollak Gallery.
Following the World Autism Day gallery reception, Geoff Sewell and his stable of talents from Incognito Artists took the Pollak stage for the first time since the auditorium’s renovation project that included installation of 700 new seats and an enhanced performance area — the better to accommodate Bravo Amici’s celebrated “mix of handsome tenors and stunning divas” who “perform an uplifting, moving collection of well-known classical and contemporary arias.”