Professor Josh Young to perform music of Andrew Lloyd Webber at Varner Recital Hall on Jan. 24


Courtesy of Oakland University

SMTD assistant professor Josh Young will perform music by Andrew Lloyd Webber in the Varner Recital Hall on Wednesday, Jan. 24.

Rachel Yim, Science & Technology Reporter

Some of the most famous pieces of English composer Andrew Lloyd Webber will be presented by an Oakland University professor at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 24 at Varner Recital Hall.

The performer is Josh Young, an assistant professor in OU’s School of Music, Theatre and Dance (SMTD). On Wednesday night, he will be performing showtunes from the catalog of Andrew Lloyd Webber.

“My performance will involve more than 20 different pieces of Andrew Lloyd Webber,” Young said. “I’ll be relating each piece to my personal relationship with him and his music through my own life stories.”

As the composer of some of the world’s best-known musicals, Webber has received numerous awards including seven Tony Awards, seven Olivier Awards, 14 Ivor Novello Awards and an Oscar.

Two of the pieces Young is going to perform in this concert are “Judas” and one of his favorite pieces,“Heaven on Their Minds,” both by Webber.

Both pieces were featured in the movie “Jesus Christ Superstar.” According to Webber’s biography, “Heaven on Their Minds” opens with an unforgettable chromatic guitar riff, while “Judas” enters calmly, with a swirl of chaos created by multiple guitarists. 

This movie and Webber’s work within it was a turning point in Young’s life, as Young has made his debut as Judas in “Jesus Christ Superstar.” This earned him a 2012 Tony Award nomination and a Theatre World Award. Recently, he received the New England Theater’s IRNE award for best actor in a musical.

Young said this performance is to celebrate his favorite composer and the works that have made an impact on his personal and professional life.

“Andrew not only inspired my career, but growing up, his music was always around me,” he said. “He gave me my Broadway debut, and he was also my mom’s favorite composer, so I used to listen to his music in the car all the time.”

He has been involved in different plays across the country, but according to Young, this concert is a special opportunity to him. Different from other concerts or shows, he said this would allow him to introduce to the community not only who Webber is as a person, but his life as a composer and his music.

Through this concert, he hopes to see as many people as possible, as he thinks the composer’s music will be enjoyable to listen to.

“I hope to see the concert hall full of audience,” he added. “And, I hope more and more people in the community will recognize this great department [SMTD].”

Aside from being a professor and an actor, Young is also the cofounder of CuttingEdge Composers, a concert and weekly web series on Broadway World to give exposure to musical theatre’s next generation of songwriters.

As a professor, an actor of a play and the cofounder of a concert series, Young continues to strive to spread a positive influence of music onto his students and audience.

Tickets for Young’s performance are $12 for students and $22 for the general public. To purchase tickets, visit the Etix website.

“If you’ve got free time, and don’t know what to do, you should all come to the show and enjoy the music,” he said.