Albert H. Fulcher | Contributing Editor
San Diego singer Brian Justin Crum and renowned ballet dancer Kirsten Bloom Allen are teaming up for a special Valentine’s Day performance at Music Box in Downtown on Feb. 14.
This collaboration, presented by ARC Entertainment Company and The Dream Adopters, promises to take the audience on a journey through the many wild, beautiful facets of love. This show, “Somebody to Love: A Queen Rock Ballet Concert,” which showcases the iconic music of Queen, the power vocals of Crum and the graceful talents of Allen. It promises to be a multi-sensory debut performance embracing the diverse aspects of love.
Brian Justin Crum hit the national spotlight on season 11 of “America’s Got Talent” with his powerful vocals and intimate performances, coming in fourth place. But on Jan. 28, he revisited “America’s Got Talent: The Champions,” and was voted to the finals with his brilliant performance of Elton John’s “Your Song.”
Kirsten Bloom Allen, founder of ARC Entertainment, boasts a repertoire of globe-spanning performances at institutions such as The Kennedy Center with The Suzanne Farrell Ballet; Shanghai, Beijing; and for George H.W. Bush and Barbara Bush.
Allen noted that there are many creative elements happening on both ends of the spectrum with music and dance throughout the Valentine’s Day performance. Accompanying dancers are from City Ballet of San Diego.
“They are beautifully trained classical ballet dancers but have such a cutting-edge style of movement that they can do both,” Allen said. “They can do the ultra-classic works and also get very contemporary. So they are more edgy and sexy which is what we are going for with this show.”
“Queen’s music has always held a place near and dear to my heart,” Crum said. “I grew up listening to their music and I got the chance to tour with the musical ‘We Will Rock You.’ So when this opportunity came up to mix the music of Queen with my favorite form of dance of contemporary ballet, it was a no-brainer for me. It’s been exciting being a part of that creative process and putting the show together, figuring out what it is going to look like and how it is going to flow. I’m really excited to present it to San Diego.”
Allen said the music itself is so iconic and that most people can relate to Queen, due to the band’s many great songs.
“People coming in [for the show] are going to have a feast for their senses,” Allen said. “They are going to have the beautiful voice of Brian Justin Crum, the incredible catalog of Queen and the stunningly gorgeous visual element of dance. So it’s a well-rounded, built-for-the-senses artistic experience. It is a very innovative and creative new way of looking at a concert with [the addition of] that visual element of dance in there. I still find ballet so beautiful every day and every day it inspires me.”
Crum, who has a lot on his plate right now, said this performance is one of the exciting projects he is doing right now — and that the premise of mixing the arts in this unusual way is something very special to him.
Crum grew up in the world of musical theater and said this show brings him back to his theatrical beginnings. He performed in his first Broadway show at 18 years old and spent eight years in New York doing different shows. He said this performance is going to be nothing short of a roller coaster ride for the senses.
“The show is highlighting different avenues of love,” Crum said. “Whether it is friendship, romantic, gay, straight — we are exploring all the different types of love through music and through dance. It is going to be a really beautiful story that we tell. Expect a lot of incredible music. The band is insane, the dancers are really beautiful so the audience can expect something really entertaining with lots of energy and a really romantic Valentine’s Day event. And the Music Box is a great venue.”
Allen said performing on Valentine’s Day with the purpose of putting a message out there of love and acceptance is particularly beautiful.
“Love comes in any forms. It can be with a man and a woman, a man and a man, woman and a woman … there are no boundaries. We are trying to promote the unifying message of love and acceptance and equality with this show. I believe in that 100 percent and it is coming from my heart,” Allen said.
When asked about Crum, Allen gushed about his talent — and feels that the pairing between the two was meant to be.
“He’s absolutely wonderful to work with,” Allen said. “He’s so talented, so creative and I love the ideas that he’s putting into this show creatively and artistically. He’s just a joy. He lights up the room whenever he enters it. I like his energy a lot.”
Allen added that costumes are in production and they are extremely cool, sexy and edgy. There are a lot of elements implemented into the production including adding little nuances to the costumes, choreography, music, and writing to create a magical environment.
“I think we landed in a great spot for the beginning,” Allen continued. “We are definitely going to reproduce this many times. It’s already getting such great response and a tremendous amount of buzz. There’s some talk about possible touring, so we’ll just see where this flies.”
Forming ARC Entertainment Company, Allen said this is her concept in adding the visual element of dance to rock concerts. These performances features working with classically trained dancers and combining them with the music of the Wallflowers and Jefferson Starship — adding dance to the sets of different rock musicians to create an explosive energy.
“I want to give ballet a new platform to shine and increase awareness of the art form,” Allen said. “Many people that come to this show, it could be their first ballet they have ever seen and that is part of what this is. Exposing ballet to another generation in a cool, edgy sort of way. I’ll always be true to the classics but integrating it in a way with contemporary movements and dynamic works can capture an audience that did not grow up watching it. They’ll be entertained and look at ballet in another way, that they love it and it is really cool. That is the goal.”
Having not performed in San Diego for six years, Crum came home for a two-night, sold-out intimate concert at Martinis Above Fourth Table + Stage on Jan. 16-17. He rocked the house with Queen’s “Somebody to Love” — his audition piece for “America’s Got Talent” — and his viral take on Radiohead’s “Creep.” He went full-on campy with Britney Spears’ “Baby One More Time.” Along with his piano player/vocalist Nicholas Connell, they had the audience roaring with their dual performance of “Suddenly Seymour” from “Little Shop of Horrors” — all after a full day of rehearsal for the upcoming “Somebody to Love: A Queen Rock Ballet Concert” performance.
“San Diego is my home and my heart,” Crum said. “Everything that I learned in the arts came from the incredible teachers that I had in San Diego. Teachers and the schooling, there is so much respect for the creative arts. I have to say thank you [to San Diego] for being my home, and for being such a great teacher to me. It’s always exciting to be able to come back. Martini’s [show] and ‘Somebody to Love’ are really things that I can share back to San Diego, so I am so happy to bring these projects to the place that I grew up. I’m sending lots of love and I’m really excited to brings these shows to San Diego.”
—Albert Fulcher can be reached at email@example.com.