The Knockturnal got to see Broadway and Television star Patina Miller in concert at the Global Potential Gala at the NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts on March 17, 2017.
Tony Award winner Patina Miller, (Madam Secretary, Mercy Street, The Hunger Games) was on hand to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of Global Potential’s Transformative Program. The non-profit’s initiative gets the city’s under-served youth involved in both their local and global community by engaging them in school with mentoring (boasting a 100% participant high school graduation rate) and giving them access to programs abroad where they can implement and absorb the positive impact of cultural exchange.
After hearing from two alumnae of the program who have gone on to complete Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in the fields of social work and education, and well as a current youth leader who attested to her own transformation evidenced by the confidence she had to speak in front of the audience about her experience, Miller recognized how important programs like these are to keep young people motivated to dream bigger than their realities may seem to offer.
“I went to after-school programs that taught art and music and I really believe had I not had these people inspiring me, telling me that I can be who I wanted to be, I would never be here,” she said. “I wouldn’t be up on this stage performing for you. So I am so proud of the work that Global Potential does.”
Her connection to the program runs even deeper—her husband David Mars is a Board Director for Global Potential. The couple pledged to match the next $10,000 donated to the program in the spirit of honoring the many sponsors in attendance. Mars and co-founder & CEO Peter Maugeri hope to boost their graduates’ college attendance rate from 87% to 90% this year.
Miller opened the evening with “Magic To Do” from Pippin, for which she won the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Revival of a Musical in 2013 as the trapeze-swinging Leading Player. This time, she kept the acrobatics just to her quick-tempo’d and meticulous vocals on Nat King Cole’s “Orange Colored Sky.”
She brought her creamy, rich tone to other Broadway hits like “I Love You I Do” from Dream Girls, and jazz standards like “Fever,” “I Put a Spell on You,” and “My Baby Just Cares For Me,” where she playfully changed its lyrics: “Liz Taylor is not his style, And even Lana Turner’s smile,” to feature Taylor Swift vs. Ariana, and Beyonce vs. Rihanna, which certainly kept the younger attendees’ ears perked up.
The biggest departure from the R&B and Broadway tunes, and from “having a jazz moment,” was her cover of “You Oughta Know,” by Alannis Morrisette, the woman-scorned rock anthem that’s been having it’s own renaissance as of late. Her take was adept and refreshing and got a jubilant reaction from the crowd. “She knew what to say, didn’t she?” Miller mused. The girl power kept running strong as Miller sung-introduced her entirely female and extremely talented band.
Miller was also visited by her Madame Secretary co-star Erich Bergen to beautifully duet “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” to which they thankfully deadpanned to the audience, “If you know it… don’t sing.”