News Column

Warren Central graduate who performs on Broadway is coming home for concert [Daily News (Bowling Green, KY)]

August 29, 2013

YellowBrix

When Stephen Trafton lived in Bowling Green, he performed a lot.

"I went to Natcher (Elementary School) and Warren Central (High School)," he said. "I did theater, musicals and choir at school and at my church. My parents teach at" Western Kentucky University.

Trafton now lives in New York City and performs on Broadway, but he hasn't forgotten his Kentucky roots. He will perform a Broadway concert called "Longing for Glory" at 7 p.m. Saturday at Grace Church at 824 Lehman Ave.

Admission is free, and a goodwill offering will be taken.

The concert, which will last two hours with a brief intermission, will include songs from several musicals, including "South Pacific," "Les Miserables," "Phantom of the Opera," "Once," "Man of La Mancha," "West Side Story" and more.

"It will be two hours of well-known Broadway songs as well as some that may not be as well-known," Trafton said.

The concert will feature Trafton and his wife, Juliette, his brother, Joe Trafton, who will accompany them on the piano, and special guest Zach Bush.

Stephen Trafton performed in the original Broadway revival cast of "Les Miserables" and in the national tour of "Phantom of the Opera," where he met his wife. Juliette Trafton starred as Luisa in "The Fantasticks" and performed in the national tour of "Phantom of the Opera." Joe Trafton is resident conductor at the National Theater in Mannheim, Germany, where he conducts opera, ballet, musicals and symphonic concerts.

Zac Bush, currently an artist in residence and youth theater associate at the Southern Kentucky Performing Arts Center, has performed leading roles in opera and musical theater around the world.

The concert's theme came from a quote by theater and film director Peter Brook, who said: "The actor invokes, lays bare what lies in every man - and what daily life covers up," Stephen Trafton said.

"It's about some of the deepest things we long for," he said.

Some of those things include love, community, justice, celebration and to find a place in the world and fulfillment, Stephen Trafton said.

"We're looking at this from all these different areas," he said. "It appeals to a lot of people who want to ask big questions in life. We try to have a lot of fun with the concert."

Stephen and Juliette Trafton have done the concert in different places. Juliette Trafton remembers when they did the concert at her alma mater, Abilene Christian University in Texas, the audience enjoyed the performance and the university wants the couple to return.

"It's great when we're invited back," she said.

The couple enjoy singing together, no matter where it is.

"We also sing in our living room together," Juliette said, laughing.

The concert will have something everyone can enjoy - even people who are not into theater.

"It's for people who can enjoy music," Stephen Trafton said. "It's a lot of fun. In a small way, we can bring Broadway to a town outside New York City. It's a joy for us."

-- For more information, contact info@thelivingletters.net.

-- Alyssa Harvey covers features. Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/bgdnfeatures.

Credit: By ALYSSA HARVEY The Daily News aharvey@bgdailynews.com 783-3257

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