BWW Reviews: DOIN' IT FOR LOVE - Three Broadway Stars Deliver a Night to Remember
By any standards, DOIN' IT FOR LOVE, presented as a benefit for the Lensic Performing Arts Center in Santa Fe, was a rare, delicious treat. For two nights only, on July 20 and 21, three of the most well known names in show business - Kaye Ballard, Liliane Montevecchi and Lee Roy Reams – teamed up to deliver a delightful, nostalgic stroll down memory lane. And, with careers spanning many decades on stage and screen, there was no shortage of material to choose from.
The show opened, appropriately enough, with the three of them exuberantly singing, 'There's No Business Like Show Business', followed by, 'You're All The World To Me.' They then took the stage, in turn, to present a personal mix of performance, comedy and song, woven together and brought to life by the sharing of associated memories and 'behind the scenes' stories.
Musical Director, David Geist, who has played with Broadway orchestras in shows such as CATS and LES MISERABLES, provided the perfect musical accompaniment all the way through. And special kudos to Matt Berman, who did an outstanding job with the stage lighting.
Lee Roy Reams was the first to present. Known primarily as a singer and dancer, he has ten Broadway shows to his credit, including 42ND STREET and HELLO DOLLY. In between some nifty tap dancing and entertaining tales from his long, distinguished career, Reims delivered a wonderfully varied selection of songs, including a couple from 42nd SREET and a very funny mix of treatments of the title song from HELLO DOLLY.
He was followed by dancer/singer/actress Liliane Montevecchi, elegant as only a French star can be, simply but stunningly attired in a long, slinky red dress. She immediately set the mood by coming down off the stage and strolling along the front rows of the stalls, sultrily singing, 'Je Cherche Un Millionaire' (I'm Looking for a Millionaire.) The audience loved it.
Montevecchi, who won an Emmy for her performance as Liliane La Fleur in NINE, began her career as a prima ballerina and was a star performer with the Folies Bergère in Paris for a number of years. Still astonishingly limber (she spontaneously performed impressively perfect and apparently effortless, ballet stretches, just for fun, in between songs) she also has a wicked sense of humor. No wonder the audience laughed when she confessed to being almost 80 years old. It just seemed like another of her jokes.
Last up was comedienne, Kaye Ballard, who recently featured in a solo show at Feinstein's, in New York She has performed many times on Broadway (PIRATES OF PENZANCE; FUNNY GIRL) and has appeared in numerous films and television shows. As well as being irresistibly funny, Ballard also has impressive vocal chords and gave a wonderful salute to Sophie Tucker, with her rendition of ''Some of These Days'. It's hard to believe that she's even older than Montevecchi, 86 in fact. But it's true. She was rumored to be romantically involved with Marlon Brando at one time, so it must be true.
The personal connection that each of these three veteran performers established with the audience, was immediate and effortless and the warmth that came back was palpable. All in all, this was a quite wonderful, uplifting and hugely entertaining evening. And delivered with such professionalism and polish that it proves, beyond any shadow of doubt, that, for these three stars at least, age really is nothing but a number.
Photo courtesy of the Lensic Performing Arts Center. www.lensic.org