Jackie Evancho performs at Reynolds Hall in The Smith Center for the Performing Arts in Downtown Las Vegas on Saturday, April 13, 2013.
Sunday, April 14, 2013 | 11:33 p.m.
It was apropos that 13-year-old “America’s Got Talent” star Jackie Evancho (she celebrated her birthday last Tuesday) would end her 90-minute performance Saturday night with “The Music of the Night” from Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber’s beloved “The Phantom of the Opera.”
There were no pyrotechnics, LED screens, sexy dancers and complicated choreography at Reynolds Hall in The Smith Center for the Performance Arts in Downtown Las Vegas. It was all about the music for the classical crossover singer, who was onstage with a splendid orchestra and exemplary trumpeter Gabriel Johnson.
This was the third time I’ve seen Evancho, the runner-up in Season 5 of “America’s Got Talent” to Las Vegas resident Michael Grimm, live, the first in “David Foster and Friends” at Mandalay Bay Events Center in October 2010 and then March 22 at Cirque du Soleil’s fundraiser “One Night for One Drop” at Bellagio.
It is astounding how her voice has matured in three years, and Evancho was mesmerizing Saturday night in her mastery of classical, pop and opera. She started with the charming “Pure Imagination” from “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” and ended, not counting the encore, with “Reflection” from “Mulan.” (Evancho’s newest album is “Songs From the Silver Screen.”)
Her setlist also included “The Impossible Dream” from “Man of La Mancha”; “The Summer Knows” from “Summer of ’42” in a duet with Johnson; “My Heart Will Go On” from “Titanic” (Evancho was born three years after James Cameron’s Oscar-winning film was released!); and The Lord’s Prayer (I’ve never heard it sung before).
Also, “When You Wish Upon a Star” from “Pinocchio” and “When I Fall In Love” from “Sleepless in Seattle.” The orchestra and Johnson had standout standalone performances while Evancho was offstage, among them “Georgia on My Mind” and “What A Wonderful World.
Evancho, all of 13, took on songs made famous by the likes of Celine Dion, Barbra Streisand and Christina Aguilera, and she held her own. Evancho is a teenager now, and she refreshingly behaved like one onstage -- well, a composed 13-year-old with a voice beyond her adolescent years.
To the delight and endearment of the audience, she giggled throughout the evening and repeatedly brushed her shoulder-length curls from her face. When an Elvis tribute artist brought a cake onstage to have the crowd sing “Happy Birthday” before her encore -- or, as she called it, her “thank you” song -- she said afterward, “I was not expecting that. That was actually awesome!”
And so was Evancho, who had only one costume change, starting out the night in a sparkling, sleeveless blue-and-silver gown and then changing into a sparkling fuchsia gown that look as if it was illuminated. Evancho performed memorable music of the night at The Smith Center, and the audience returned the favor with standing ovation after standing ovation.
Thanks to contributing photographer Tom Donoghue for his photo gallery.
Don Chareunsy is editor of Vegas DeLuxe and senior editor for arts and entertainment of the Las Vegas Sun.
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
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Smith Center for the Performing Arts The Smith Center for the Performing Arts offers a blend of performances by resident companies and touring attractions. The 5-acre cultural campus features three performance spaces, which includes a main performance area with more than 2,000 seats. This downtown cultural center of Las Vegas looks to educate, entertain and excite community members.
To provide and preserve a high-quality performing arts center that is embraced by the community and recognized as a vital force by supporting artistic excellence, education and inspiration for all.
To entertain, educate, enrich and inspire the southern Nevada community.
Thanks to the generous support of our dedicated founders, members, donors and community partners, The Smith Center continues to provide a wide variety of services for Southern Nevada residents, including access to world-class performances, inspirational Education and Outreach programs for students and teachers, and a unique space to host events, meetings and special occasions. Celebrating our fifth season, we depend upon public support to fulfill our mission and serve as the Heart of the Arts® for many years to come.
With ticket sales covering just 75 percent of our operating budget for each season, the remaining 25 percent comes from the community we serve. Philanthropic support at all levels helps provide programming that entertains, educates, enriches and inspires. By giving to The Smith Center, you play a vital role in providing an important resource for our community.
There are many opportunities to volunteer and play a direct role with your community’s performing arts complex. Volunteers engage with staff and patrons to enhance experiences at The Smith Center, and can serve in various capacities including tour guide/docent, usher, security team member or community ambassador. As important members of The Smith Center team, volunteers help us remain financially sustainable and provide numerous services for the community. Please show your support for The Smith Center’s mission by gifting your time and unique skills.
Members’ annual support provides crucial resources for The Smith Center’s artistic programming, education opportunities and cultural enrichment each year. There are a variety of giving options and levels, and Members receive exclusive benefits and behind-the-scenes opportunities based on their level of support. To learn more, please visit www.thesmithcenter.com/support-us/members.
The Encore Society recognizes those generous donors who have included The Smith Center as a part of their estate plan. Corporate Sponsorship is available to companies to underwrite all, or part, of a program, performance or event.
Fanfare! is The Smith Center’s young progressional networking organization, open to anyone with an interest in the performing arts who is between the ages of 21-40. And our Show Dedication allows for the celebration of an individual or special occasion with unique recognition opportunities during a specific performance.
The Smith Center provides world-class performing arts and outreach and education throughout the Southern Nevada region.
The organization originally formed in 1996 as the Las Vegas Performing Arts Center.
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