A good time has never looked so good at the Broadhurst Theater.
Since the fall, Brooklyn-born Neil Diamond’s music and life story has been on Broadway in a biomusical, with Will Swenson in the role of singer-songwriter (sometimes illustrious).
Jukebox work “Beautiful Noise” fell short of the Tony Award nominations. Some disparaged Swenson’s convincing Diamond performance.
But don’t get hung up on Broadhurst nominations. There, a middle-aged audience gleefully soaks up the music of 82-year-old Diamond, creator of “Sweet Caroline,” “America,” and “Forever in Blue Jeans.” “
On Broadway, singing along is sometimes frowned upon. “A Beautiful Noise” is not. An uptempo, brightly lit musical that feels like a concert.
The work provides a straightforward account of a flawed, sometimes aloof, but highly gifted subject. The show features an elderly Diamond (Mark Jacoby) in therapy reflecting on his past, with Swenson filling in as a young Diamond.
At Sunday’s Tony Awards, Swenson and the cast of “Beautiful Noise” will appear on shows including “Camelot,” “Funny Girl,” “Into the Woods,” “& Juliet,” and “Kimberly Akimbo.” “New York, New York”, “Parade”, “Shacked” and “Some Like It Hot”.
Perhaps there will be a singalong at the United Palace, the grand theater in Manhattan’s Washington Heights, where Tony’s will be performing this year.
Swenson, a loud-voiced Broadway veteran who wears glittery costumes for his shows, said crowds were always yelling at Broadhurst.
In a recent interview, Swenson suggested that the musical’s rigorous elements, with its extensive song list, helped make his voice more like Diamond’s rough tinnitus. To begin with, there are similarities between the two voices.
“He and I have basically similar vocal ranges. We’re both like resonating baritones,” Swenson, 50, said. “I knew from an early age that I could imitate Neil. I used to play his songs around the campfire and woo the girls.”
But he emphasized the difficulty of everyday impressions, citing a passage from the musical that described Diamond’s voice as “gravel wrapped in velvet.”
“The gravel road is the most troublesome part, because it’s not necessarily voice-healthy,” Swenson said. “I think Neil has it naturally.
“My voice is so tired, actually, that it makes me sound like Neil Diamond,” he added.