Printed on: February 08, 2013

Seeing red

Valentine's theme carries a serious health message

By J.E. Mathewson
jmathewson@postregister.com

In "Les Misrables," a heart-broken Eponin dies a romantic death in the arms of Marius.

But there's nothing romantic about women contracting heart disease.

So, the Idaho Falls Symphony has partnered with Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center for the annual Red Dress Concert.

The idea is to increase awareness about a health topic of vital importance to women -- set against a romantic backdrop.

"Valentines on Broadway" combines the romance of Broadway show tunes with Heart Health Month. The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Idaho Falls Civic Auditorium.

While all concertgoers are encouraged to wear red, women are asked to don a red dress, a national symbol for heart health awareness.

"Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women," EIRMC community relations coordinator Jamie Jensen said. "A lot of women don't think about that. The red dress is a glamorous way to bring light to that topic."

According to statistics supplied by EIRMC, nearly twice as many U.S. women die from heart disease and stroke than all forms of cancer, including breast cancer.

Symphony Music Director Thomas Heuser said a Broadway theme was chosen for the 10th annual event to underscore the romance of Valentine's Day.

Broadway vocalists Michael Maguire and Christiane Noll will perform with the symphony.

"I'm really excited to feature these singers in Idaho Falls because they are some of the biggest names (on) Broadway right now," Heuser said.

Maguire won a Tony Award for his performance as Enjolras in the original Broadway company of "Les Misrables." The character is the leader of a group of students that rebels against the French government.

Maguire also has performed with the New York City Opera and was the subject of a feature story in Newsweek magazine.

Noll has been nominated for a Tony Award and Drama Desk Award for her performance of Mother on Broadway in the Kennedy Center Revival of "Ragtime."

Her credits also include "Jekyll and Hyde," "Grease," "South Pacific," "Miss Saigon" and other musicals.

"Both of these singers bring incredible dynamic stage presence," Heuser said. "They're exciting to see on stage. They're singing is fantastic (but) it's their energy that they bring on stage that everyone will be amazed by.

"It's hard to describe. They really know how to get the audience excited."

Heuser said the vocals of Noll and Maguire are a "perfect match" for selections from "My Fair Lady," "Guys and Dolls," "West Side Story," "Chicago!" "Phantom of the Opera" and "Les Misrables."

Heuser is excited by the prospect of combining those Broadway voices with a full orchestra.

"(Broadway) music is written for a full orchestra and it sounds fantastic when it is played by a full orchestra," he said. "It sounds like Hollywood. It sounds like Broadway. People will see the orchestra (members) smiling and having a great time while they're playing."

Jen Mathewson can be reached at 542-6751. Comment on this story on Post Talk at www.postregister.com/posttalk.

If you go

What: "Valentines on Broadway"

When: Preconcert discussion at 6:30 p.m., show at 7:30 p.m. Saturday

Where: Idaho Falls Civic Auditorium, 501 S. Holmes Ave.

Tickets: $10 to $32. To purchase tickets, visit www.ifsymphony.com or call 529-1080.