The neon lights are bright…

The cast of <i>Best of Broadway.</i>

The cast of Best of Broadway.

Preview: Best of Broadway Laxson Auditorium Thurs., Dec. 4, 7:30pm Info: 898-6333

New York City is overrated. Blocks of honking taxis, mediocre hot dogs and presumptuous, beret-bearing art types can be obstacles for a Californian eagerly making his way east for the sole purpose of catching a coveted Broadway show. But have no fear, Phantom fans, because the Best of Broadway is inching its way to Chico State’s Laxson Auditorium with a bulging variety pack of well-known musical medleys.

“It’s comedy, passion and romance,” says Raymond Saar, one of four featured performers in the traveling show, in which snippets of several popular musicals are sewn together to grant top-notch Broadway shows an additional 15 minutes of fame. Saar says they’ve “chosen songs that are inspirational, touching and moving” from such favorites as Chicago, Fiddler on the Roof and Les Misérables.

Apparently Funny Girl can’t be left out of any musically charged theatrical event. Tributes to Barbra Streisand and Judy Garland are woven into the two-hour show, complete with commentary about the lives and careers of these larger-than-life ladies. Saar says Best of Broadway creates an unavoidable intimacy between the audience and the performers.

Saar was a part of last year’s sold-out Best of Andrew Lloyd Webber performance at Laxson, has acted in several on-Broadway productions and lent his voice to numerous philharmonic orchestras and symphonies. He says he eager to return to town with fellow stage veterans Diane Ketchi, Valerie Perry and Scott Harlan.