BWW Reviews: RHAPSODY IN GERSHWIN a Tribute to the Gershwin Brothers Opens at Quality Hill Playhouse
Rhapsody in Gershwin currently plays at the Quality Hill Playhouse in Kansas City, Mo. The musical tribute to George and Ira Gershwin runs through July 6. The Gershwin brothers wrote songs for Broadway, jazz clubs, films, and concert halls in the 1920s and 1930s. The production is part of the Quality Hill Do It Again, The Best of Quality Hill Playhouse series.
The cast includes J. Kent Barnhart, Lateesha McDonald Jackson, Melinda MacDonald, and Tim Noland. In Act I they perform some of the best know hits of the Gershwin's including "I'll Build a Stairway to Paradise from George White's Scandals, "Looking for a Boy" from Tip Toes, "Soon" from Strike Up the Band, and "Nice Work if You Can Get It" from the film A Damsel in Distress. Act II brings songs from Porgy and Bess, the film Shall We Dance, and the Goldwyn Follies.
The magnificent piano solo, "Rhapsody in Blue" by J. Kent Barnhart, is worth the cost of a ticket. Barnhart received rave revues from the Kansas City Star and Pitch newspapers in 2008 when he performed the piece for the first time at Quality Hill. Listening to the piece it is evident why they described the 2008 performance as "impeccable and awe-inspiring." Like a fine bottle of wine, the solo has only gotten better in time. Barnhart founded Quality Hill Playhouse in 1995 and serves as the Executive Director.
Tim Noland returns to the playhouse where he has performed in Sh-Boom Sh-Boom and Christmas in Song. He has a wonderful voice as he sings "Oh, Lady Be Good" from Lady, Be Good, "Liza" from Show Girl, and "They All Laughed" from the film Shall We Dance. The audience can see his passion for music in his eyes as he joins LaTeesha McDonald Jackson in "That Certain Feeling" from Tip Toes.