Last year, Derrick Davis charmed the audience at the Lied Center of Performing Arts with his performance as the Phantom in “The Phantom of the Opera.” Now, Davis is set to serenade the crowd at the Lied Center again as a solo performer on Oct. 17 from 4 to 7:30 p.m.
During the show, Davis will perform songs from shows he has been in before, such as “The Lion King” and “Carousel.” But he will also be using songs from shows he hasn’t been a part of in order to tell his story of how he landed a spot on broadway.
“[This show is] my opportunity to finally get to tell the story of my journey to being a performer and being able to use the music that I’ve fallen in love with — musical theater — and just spend time with an audience, and just having that intimate moment of storytelling and singing but being able to be in my own skin as opposed to having to be a character the entire time,” Davis said.
David said one of the most challenging parts of the preparation was choosing which songs would fit into the story of his journey.
“I changed my song list probably seven or eight times before I finally settled on the list that I have,” Davis said. “You want the show to have a certain flow and want the story to be told accurately and for the songs to be appropriate for the moments that they find themselves in within the story.”
After the pandemic changed the Broadway schedule, Davis’s calendar opened up. Matthew Boring, associate director of marketing and patron development at the Lied Center, said it became a no-brainer to bring Davis back to Lincoln.
“[Davis] hadn't played in Lincoln before, so it was his first time with Phantom,” Boring said. “When COVID shut down Broadway, we started looking kind of immediately at what are some creative ways that we can still bring Broadway to Lincoln.”
According to Boring, the stage set-up for the show will be a simplistic one, with Davis and a pianist being the only people on stage. While some might find this set up a bit unexciting, Boring thinks the simplicity forces the audience to pay attention to the music instead of looking around at other things on stage.
“I think [the set-up] really allows you to focus on the music and focus on the performer, and I think when you have a singular performer that has as big of a stage presence and frankly as big of a voice as he does, he's someone who can pull that off,” Boring said. “There aren't a lot of Broadway artists who can come on stage and have them and a piano and do a 90-minute concert and blow you away.”
His overall goal, Davis said, is to give a performance that will allow the audience to escape for a while, and hopefully, inspire others to do what they love.
“I hope they get a glimpse into what the journey of a performer can look like,” Davis said. “I hope they get an opportunity to escape the rigors and the stress of life right now, even if just for 90 minutes — just to get away from it and just exhale for a minute, and I hope they leave inspired and encouraged in one way or another.”