by Gail Burns
Inspired by his Berkshire childhood as the step-son of musician David Grover, Michael Wartella is bringing his cast-mates from the national touring company of “Wicked” home to Massachusetts for an acoustic benefit concert for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS on Monday, November 19, at 7 pm. The company is currently performing at Proctors in Schenectady, NY.
“I grew up in the Berkshire folk music scene with my stepdad and Arlo Guthrie, so it was a no brainer for me to produce something here in the County,” Wartella explained. “This concert will feature ‘Wicked’ cast members singing hits and classics from all different musical genres, as well as a few songs from the show, in an acoustic environment.”
Wartella’s mother, Kathy Jo Grover, is directing the Undermountain Elementary School’s fall musical production, and the cast of that show will make an appearance at the concert along with David Grover to sing a very special number.
“Growing up here I took advantage of every theatrical opportunity that came my way,” Wartella said. “I was involved with Shakespeare & Company and the Barrington Stage Youth Theatre. But when I went into New York City with some friends of mine in high school to see ‘RENT’ that was the tipping point for me – the moment I said ‘I want to do this for a career.’”