by DICK KEREKES & LEISLA SANSOM
On December 1, 2012, Alejandro “Alex” Rodriguez presented his Jacksonville University senior showcase which he entitled “Alegría – A Senior Concert.”
Over the years we have attended a number of showcases at JU for musical theatre and voice students. The productions have been varied and have always well prepared. In this case, the description of the event as a concert was correct because it was certainly that and then some. Alejandro spent nine months in planning his night of nights and even before we arrived we knew it would be something special.
Why? Besides being a full-time student, he has been active in community theatres as a Director, Choreographer, Actor and Music Director. His current project is directing and choreographing “Five Guys Named Moe” for the first production of 2013 at Players by the Sea.
A chorus of vocalists, all with excellent voices, were seated on stage right. They included Maggie Moore, Jet Thomas, Raquel Lopez, Sadie Schneider, Jeromy Larson, Chris Robertson and Latonio Nicholas.
Alejandro and Jet performed a duet of “Falling Slowly” from “Once,” with Alejandro playing the keyboard. Maggie Moore joined him for “I Hate You, Then I Love You.
In an extended segment during the first half of the show, Alejandro achieved musical magic by blending parts of nine songs together with each segued flawlessly. The songs were “Open Arms,” “Don’t You Remember,” “Here I Am,” “Your Song,” “You’re The Inspiration,” “Let It Be,” “New York State of Mind,” “Our Last Summer,” and “All By Myself.” The excellent band accompanying him included Stephen Fennell -Piano, Zeek Smith – Synthesizer, Landon Baker – Drums, Damon Martin – Bass, and CJ Fluharty -Guitar.
Dancers appeared on stage to augment several musical selections; they were Emmary Wolff, Jazmine Valenti, Joshua Abbott, and Marissa Garcia.
Act II was also special. In a tribute to his Cuban heritage, Alejandro belted out a lively version of Guantanamera with the audience joining in an impromptu sing-a-long, and he dedicated the songs “Mama” and “Hero” to his mother and father. His parents as well as a number of other relatives drove from Miami to participate in this celebratory occasion.
Alejandro dressed in a black suit with an open blue shirt for the first half. In the second half he wore a sharkskin suit with a white shirt and tie.
This concert had excellent production values with colorful lights changing on the white wall behind the band. In fact this concert was so professional in every way that if it could be packed up and transported to Las Vegas, it would be playing to sold-out houses.
This was the largest audience we have ever seen at a showcase, consisting of both JU students and others from the local theatre community who have appreciated the talents of Alejandro as a singer, dancer, director and choreographer. He has a dynamic personality, many talents, and a bright future and we expect to will see him on Broadway one of these days.
Thank you for sharing your talents with us; it was truly a spectacular evening of entertainment.
by DICK KEREKES & LEISLA SANSOM