NEPA Scene Staff

Direct from Broadway, Rocktopia blends rock and classical music in Wilkes-Barre on May 8

Direct from Broadway, Rocktopia blends rock and classical music in Wilkes-Barre on May 8
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From a press release:

Direct from its smash hit run on Broadway, the international music sensation Rocktopia will continue to tour the country in 2019.

An explosive musical concert event that fuses the most iconic 20th century rock with world-renowned classical masterpieces, Rocktopia features the works of musical innovators across centuries – including Journey, Mozart, Queen, Beethoven, Aerosmith, Handel, Led Zeppelin, Tchaikovsky, U2, Heart, Puccini, The Who, and more – performed by an elite lineup of vocalists, a five-piece rock band, a 30-person choir, and a 20-piece orchestra.

Rocktopia will visit the F.M. Kirby Center in Wilkes-Barre on Wednesday, May 8 at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets, which are $35, $55, and $75, plus fees, go on sale this Friday, March 1 at 10 a.m. and will be available at the Sundance Vacations Box Office at the Kirby Center (71 Public Square, Wilkes-Barre), online at, and by phone at 570-826-1100. A Kirby Member pre-sale begins Wednesday, Feb. 27 at 10 a.m.

Created through the unique vision of vocalist and recording artist Rob Evan (Trans-Siberian Orchestra and “Les Miserables,” “Jekyll & Hyde,” and more on Broadway) and Maestro Randall Craig Fleischer (San Francisco Symphony), Rocktopia delivers one-of-a-kind, spine-tingling musical arrangements with insanely talented lead vocalists, a rock band, a choir, and an orchestra.

The groundbreaking live concert will be performed by a celebrated, diverse array of rock, Broadway, and opera vocalists: Rob Evan; Chloe Lowery (Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Chris Botti, Yanni’s Voices); Tony Vincent (NBC’s “The Voice” and “American Idiot” and “Rent” on Broadway); and featuring Alyson Cambridge (“The Merry Widow” at the Met Opera, “Madame Butterfly,” “La Boheme,” “Show Boat”). The world-class musicians featured include: Grammy and Emmy Award-nominated violinist Máiréad Nesbitt (Celtic Woman, Lord of the Dance) and acclaimed guitarist Tony Bruno (MD and guitar for Enrique Iglesias and Rihanna, “America’s Got Talent”).

An inaugural performance of the show, “Rocktopia: Live from Budapest” produced by Two Hands Entertainment/Jeff Rowland, was recorded in front of a live audience in June of 2016 at the 19th century Hungarian State Opera House for PBS. It was performed with the Budapest Philharmonic Orchestra with six vocalists, a five-piece rock band, the Hungarian State Opera Chorus, and the Jazz and More Choir. Rocktopia toured over 20 cities in the United States in 2016, featuring local symphonies and choirs across the country, and rocked Broadway during its limited engagement in the spring of 2018.

Adored by audiences and critics alike, Billboard called Rocktopia “a thrilling musical fusion,” and Howard Stern praised the show, saying, “it’s very cool… really a lot of fun.” “Rocktopia blends classical music with classic rock, a big live orchestra, and an even bigger choir to create an evening that has even the most jaded New Yorkers dancing in their seats,” exclaimed Broadway Box. DC Metro Arts adds, “with rousing peaks and powerful performances, you’ll be rocking and cheering! All of the musicians are impressive – with Tony Bruno’s guitar solos being especially electrifying and Máiréad Nesbitt’s performances a thrilling highlight.”

Co-creator Rob Evan is a highly accomplished actor, singer, and producer with more than 20 years of professional experience in the entertainment industry. He has performed in seven leading roles on New York stages, including the original Broadway cast of “Jekyll & Hyde,” playing the title roles more than 1,000 times over three years. His rendition of “This Is the Moment” was performed at numerous prestigious events, including the 2001 inaugural gala for President George W. Bush, the Millennium Independence Day U.S. Naval Revue aboard the USS John F. Kennedy for President Bill Clinton, the Millennium World Forum Conference with speaker Mikhail Gorbachev, and the New York City Mayor’s inaugural gala.

Evan also appeared on Broadway as Jean Valjean in “Les Miserables,” Kerchak in Disney’s “Tarzan,” the dentist in “Little Shop of Horrors,” and Count von Krolock in Jim Steinman’s “Dance of the Vampires.” Off-Broadway, he created the roles of the Dancin’ Kid in “Johnny Guitar” and the hero Miles Hendon in “The Prince and the Pauper.”

He is a member of the multi-platinum-selling band Trans-Siberian Orchestra. He can be heard on TSO’s “The Lost Christmas Eve” and “Night Castle,” which debuted at No. 5 on Billboard’s Top 100. He was also the lead vocalist for Jim Steinman’s The Dream Engine and recently released the debut album of his progressive rock band, Menrva Realm. Evan has also been a regularly featured soloist for over 40 symphonies around the world, including appearances in San Francisco, San Diego, Atlanta, Chicago, Hong Kong, and the Czech Republic.

Active as a composer and arranger, co-creator Randall Craig Fleischer is a national leader in the fields of symphonic rock and world music fusion. His works and arrangements have been played by many world-renowned orchestras, including the Boston Pops, San Francisco Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Hong Kong Philharmonic, San Diego Symphony, China Philharmonic, Atlanta Symphony, the National Symphony, and many others. He has also worked with artists such as John Densmore (The Doors), Natalie Merchant, Blondie, Ani DiFranco, John Cale (Velvet Underground), Garth Hudson (The Band), Kenny Rogers, Chris Baron (Spin Doctors), and Native American artists R. Carlos Nakai, Burning Sky, The Hawk Project, The Benaly Family, and others. His operatic repertoire includes productions of “La Boheme,” “Turandot,” “Tosca,” “Madama Butterfly,” “Don Giovanni,” “La Traviata,” and others.

Fleischer received his bachelor’s degree in music education from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and has studied conducting with Leonard Bernstein, Otto Werner Mueller, Seiji Ozawa, Riccardo Muti, Gustav Meier, and others. He first came to international attention when, at the National Symphony Orchestra, he conducted Dvorak’s “Cello Concerto” with Mstislav Rostropovich as the soloist. In December of 1992, he conducted an ensemble of more than 70 cellos, including YoYo Ma, and a 190 voice chorus in a tribute to Rostropovich, broadcast on CBS with then-President and Mrs. Bush in attendance. In 1993, he conducted a private concert for Pope John Paul at the Vatican. The Pontiff awarded him a medal for his achievements in music.

A passionate educator, Fleischer has co-authored several instructional pieces for children in collaboration with his wife, comedian Heidi Joyce, which were premiered by the National Symphony Orchestra, including three rap pieces for orchestras. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife Heidi and daughter Michaela.