Donny Osmond Giovanni

Opera is beautiful. Pop music centered on showcasing the vocal range of ex-Mouseketeers is campy. When the two get together, what strange bedfellows they make.

Andrew Lloyd Webber, what have you done? The king of musicals' melodramatic genre may have been trapped inside of theatres in London's West End and on Broadway for years, but it's broken way out as a vehicle for classically influenced pop stars.

At 23, Josh Groban is the genre's leading man. Propelled by an acting and singing appearance on Ally McBeal in 2001, he has since been Charlotte Church's singing partner at the closing ceremonies of the 2002 Winter Olympics, the family-friendly portion of the Superbowl pregame, was a requested performer at Oprah's 50th birthday party and has sold over 5 million records. He is Donny Osmond Giovanni.

At his packed performance at the Ohio Theatre on Monday night, it was hard to focus between the rolls of smoke constantly spilling out from the sides of the stage and a wide screen that sometimes featured projected images like a woman dancing with a fan in a flowy skirt or a moving, abstract gray mass that either looked like an ultrasound or an animated Rorschach test.

But swirling lights weren't the attraction. The New York Times gave him the Superfriend-ish title "The New Boy Wonder of the Voice." A woman in the audience put it this way: "You sing, baby!"


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