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Monday, June 10, 2013

Irish Rep - 25 Years Young - Gives Rodgers & Hammerstein Tour

Curtain Call - 25th Anniv. Gala for the Irish Repertory Theater
at the Broadhurst. Front row of people are standing to clap;
behind, the stars; a full orchestra, with harp; and in rear the
blue-lit chorus of 40+, mostly men. iPhone photo by JTMarlin. 
My photo doesn't do justice to the moment at the end of the Irish Repertory Theater's evening of Rodgers & Hammerstein.

The whole audience joined with the chorus and stars in the singing of "Edelweiss" from the Sound of Music. It was a grand night for singing indeed.

The great moments were easily identified. It was a mix of new material and old favorites, and the new material got only sporadic enthusiasm. (Tom Hanks was in fine form and tried to amuse us, but the script was frail.)

One joke that got a laugh was the story, told  by O'Reilly with an Irish brogue, about a nun teaching young girls. She asked them what they wanted to be when they grew up. One girl said: "I want to be a prostitute." The nun fainted. When the nun was revived, she asked the girl: "What did you say?" The girl repeated: "I want to be a prostitute." "Oh," said the nun. "What a relief! I thought you said you wanted to be a Protestant."

The warm-up acts and rounds of appreciation seemed to go on too long, but then all was forgiven. The old favorites brought down the house. It seems we never learn, but maybe we need the slow-starting material to get us ready for the popular songs.

Here are the highlights, with the star singers who provided their talents to support the Theater. Charlotte Moore and Ciaran O'Reilly gave the dates of each musical and said something about how it was received (number of performances etc.).

OKLAHOMA (1943)
People Will Say We're in Love - enchantingly done by Jenny Powers with Matt Cavanagh
Oklahoma! - well done by the chorus. No way that one could miss.

CAROUSEL (1945)
If I Loved You - Alexandra Silber
You'll Never Walk Alone - Brian Stokes Mitchell, extremely wll supported by the chorus.

STATE FAIR (Film, 1945)
A Grand Night for Singing - Chorus made it feel as though that's what the night really was.

SOUTH PACIFIC (1949)
There Is  Nothing Like a Dame - Extremely well done by Bill Newhall and the men's chorus. This is a favorite song that is hard to do justice to in a singalong environment. It needs to be choreographed.
I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair - Nancy Anderson put her whole body into the song, and the women's chorus helped out. Again, hard to replicate in a singalong environment.
Younger Than Springtime - Max von Essen had everyone eating out of his hands.
This Nearly Was Mine - Paulo Szot got the pacing down well and even a French accent when helpful.

THE KING AND I (1951)
Shall We Dance - Barry McNabb (the choreographer) got a good laugh when he did a fine Irish jig, Riverdance-style, with Kerry Conte twirling with him in a long flouncy dress.
Getting to Know You - Nicely done, with graceful, Thai-esque movements of her hands and body, by Teal Wicks.

THE SOUND OF MUSIC (1959)
Maria - A spectacular trio by Kerry Conte (she can dance and she can sing as well), Bonnie Fraser and Georga Osborne.
Climb Every Mountain - well done by Meg Bussert.
Edelweiss - the invitation for the audience to join in was irresistible.