Nancy Cobb bought one of the first season tickets to Broadway Voices in 2010 when the series of concerts by Broadway stars began.
She has seen the Garner Performing Arts Center filled by six Phantoms from “Phantom of the Opera,” three Valjeans from “Les Miserables,” “Mary Poppins,” a “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” assorted witches from “Wicked,” Belle from “Beauty of the Beast” and assorted other Broadway stars.
But the one that she thinks stands above all of the rest is making a return appearance at the Garner Performing Arts Center on April 30.
David Burnham, the former Fiyero in “Wicked,” the lead in “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” and a star in “The Light in the Piazza,” is leaving his hit Las Vegas show to take the GPAC stage.
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“He is my favorite. He is just so personable,” said Cobb, a longtime administrative assistant at Garner Magnet High School. “He interacts so well with the audience, and he is an unbelievable singer. He is just a really nice guy, and he involved the audience so much.
“And he came and sang at my church the next day, and it was wonderful.”
Burnham has some other things going for him, too.
“He is really good looking,” she said, before hastening to add that he reminds her of her sons.
And, of course, there was the way Burnham left the stage to engage the audience.
“He sat in my lap,” she confessed with a hearty laugh.
When Burnham jokingly admonished her from the stage for her love pat, she said, “My preacher’s here.”
The line has been repeated often.
But Cobb isn’t Burnham’s only Garner fan.
Carol Sims, a local realtor, has seen the Broadway Voices shows, too. She has Burnham in a class of his own.
“I love the way he involves the audience,” Sims said. “He is just so entertaining. He projects his personality so well. He is just so fun.
“And the way he carried on with Nancy Cobb.”
The fun that he has on stage is why he is traveling with musical director Mark Vogel for the return trip to Garner.
“I don’t get to do this much anymore,” Burnham said from Las Vegas, where he is among the stars in Steve Wynn’s “ShowStoppers,” a $15 million stage show that has a 30-piece orchestra, 28 dancers and a $10,000 jacket that Burnham dons for one number.
He is so busy that he has given up gardening, one of his great joys.
He has shows six nights a week in Vegas, and he joined with Vogel to help write, direct and produce an Off-Broadway show. Their “Happy 50ish,” a musical comedy, garnered good reviews during its three-month run. The show has since been mounted in Las Vegas and Southern California.
But Burnham’s heart is still on the stage.
“What I want to bring to every performance is who I am,” he said. “I want to be authentic. I want to have fun with the audience and for the audience to have fun with me. I just love being with people and us to have a good time together.
“If I sing a song they really like and they show it, I’m going to feed off of that. And my energy is going to go up and so will theirs. We will be feeding off of each other. It is just amazing how it works.”
He said do not expect the same exact show he did six years ago. He and Vogel are always changing the show.
“But we try to keep the parts that people seem to like the best,” he said. “There will be plenty of familiar songs, but some newer ones, too.”
He recently extended his contract for ShowStoppers, which shows no sign of stopping. The show is filled with some of Broadway’s best known music and has elaborate sets and energetic choreography.
The show is closed for a week, and he jumped at the chance to make the cross-country trip to Garner.
“I’ve been doing the show for one and a half years. I’m very blessed. I love doing the show,” he said. “But doing concerts is in my blood. It is fun to have a chance to do one like this.
“I am sincerely excited and pleased that I’m coming back to Garner.”
Tim Stevens: firstname.lastname@example.org @TimDStevens
Want to go?
David Burnham in concert
What: Concert by Broadway star David Burnham
Where: Garner Performing Arts Center, 742 W. Garner Road.
When: Saturday, April 30, 7:30 p.m.
Tickets: $35, garnerperformingartscenter.com/davidburnham.asp.