BWW Reviews: August's KRITZERLAND at Sterling's Upstairs Celebrates Some Great Female Lyricists
On the first Sunday of each month, Bruce Kimmel hosts the KRITZERLAND show at Sterling's at The Federal in the heart of the NoHo Arts District. The evening starts with a variety of dinner selections, full bar service, and lots of time to mingle and chat with old and new friends. Starting at 7pm, each revue has its own theme, with a variety of performers taking to the stage to entertain the enthusiastic crowd who loves show tunes.
The 48th KRITZERLAND show on 8-3-14 presented a salute to some incredible female lyricists of the musical theatre, mostly Carolyn Leigh, the brilliant lyricist of such Broadway shows as Little Me, Wildcat, Peter Pan and others, as well as such classic pop songs as "Witchcraft" and "The Best Is Yet to Come," as well as other great female lyricists like Lynn Ahrens (Once on this Island, Ragtime, Seussical), Carol Hall (The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas), Marsha Norman (The Secret Garden), Gretchen Cryer (I'm Getting My Act Together and Taking it on the Road), Fran Landesman (The Nervous Set, "Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most"), Amanda McBroom ("The Rose", Heartbeats) and Carole Bayer Sager (They're Playing Our Song).
KRITZERLAND's Bruce Kimmel has recorded many of the lyricists above and chose the colorful and eclectic program, a mix of the well-known and the unknown, both comic and serious. Musical Director Tom Griep accompanied the entertainers in his trademark lively style.
The stars of THEY'RE PLAYING OUR SONG: A Tribute to Some Great Female Lyricists included:
Dan Callaway (Broadway National Company: The Phantom of the Opera; Guthrie, Pirates of Penzance; MTG: Chess). His selections: "They're Playing Our Song" (an animated duet with Shannon Warne to start of the show), "A Little Bit of Earth" and the rousing finale "Wheels of a Dream" from Ragtime.
Jennifer Kranz (Brigitta, Sound of Music; Beauty & The Beast; Sarah & Adelaide, Guys and Dolls; Nancy, Oliver; Crissy, Hair). Her selections: "Come Down From the Tree" and "Ship in a Bottle."
Heather Lee: (Broadway: Gypsy, with Bernadette Peters; Guys and Dolls, Adelaide; Beauty and the Beast, Annie Get Your Gun) The most comical and entertaining number on the show was "I Gotta Crow" from Peter Pan. Heather took to the stage with a stuffed crow to help her sing the song, garnering howls of laughter throughout the number. Her duet with Bruce Kimmel, "Funny I and The Duck Joke" again gave Heather a chance to demonstrate her comic chops. And finally, "Twenty-Four Hours of Lovin'" in which she threw every ounce of her sex appeal into seducing the microphone. Another comic gem!
Lisa Livesay (Nat'l Tour, Wicked, Glinda; Monteen, Parade, Center Theatre Group; Tribute to Alan Menken, New York). Showing her range of emotional song interpretation, Livesay went from the upbeat "Bouncing Back for More / Hey Look Me Over" combo to the heart wrenching "Ballad of the Sad Young Man" and "Old Friend." Livesay had the audience in the palm of her hand as she sang the stories about these two lost souls.
Shannon Warne (Maria, Sound of Music, Cabrillo; Nat'l Tour, Guenevere,Camelot; NoHo Arts, Having It All; 3rd St.,The Full Monty). Another great musical comedy performer, Shannon started off the show with Dan Callaway, turning "They're Playing Our Song" into a battle of comic attitude. Her "The Alto's Lament" displayed her musical range, taking on the low alto notes when she can easily reach the highest of the high soprano notes. The song offered the audience a chance to laugh at her animated antics, acting out the poor soprano relegated to signing the non-harmony alto score. Her last number "Take It From the Top" offered a way to always look at the bright side of life.
And very special guest Kay Cole whose credits include: Broadway: Original Maggie, A Chorus Line; Jesus Christ Superstar, Hair, Pousse-Café, The Roar of the Greasepaint, The Smell of the Crowd Jesus Christ Superstar, Bye Bye Birdie; LES MISERABLES (Los Angeles). Off-Broadway: Snoopy!!!, Two If By Sea, Rainbow, Best Foot Forward. As director and/or choreographer Broadway/Off-Broadway: Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks (Broadway/Film), Desperate Writers, Hang On To The Good Times, One Man Band; numerous premieres and regional theater productions, as well as film, television and concerts, entertained the crowd with a Kimmel inspired mash-up of "Witchcraft and The Best Is Yet to Come."
KRITZERLAND shows are always jam-packed and it is recommended you make reservations early. Next month on 9-7-14, Kimmel is putting together an extra-special show to celebrate their 4th Anniversary. As a special thank you to the show's fans, there will be no cover charge that night. So reserve your seats now by calling 818 754-8700. Your phone reservation will be confirmed (usually a few days before the show).
KRITZERLAND show details:
Dinner reservations: DOORS OPEN 5:30pm. SHOW STARTS 7:00pm!
Cover charge $15 + $10 food minimum + $4 facility charge.
Yes! You can eat dinner and see the show for only $29!
Sterling's at The Federal
5303 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood, CA 91601
The Federal Bar is adjacent to the El Portal Theatre.
The North Hollywood Stations for the Metrolink Red Line and Orange Line are directly across the street, north of Chandler on Lankershim. Parking is available - entrance for Federal lot is on Weddington Street (directly behind the building) at $3.50. There is also available street parking.
For information about Sterling's Upstairs at The Federal:
Bruce Kimmel hosts the show
"Bouncing Back for More/Hey Look Me Over" - Lisa Livesay.
"Come Down From the Tree" - Jennifer Kranz.
"I've Gotta Crow" - Heather Lee.
"The Alto's Lament" - Shannon Warne
"Wheels of a Dream" - Dan Callaway .
Bruce Kimmel adds lots of information about each song during the show and sang "Firefly."