BWW Reviews: Kritzerland Soars Once More with Rodgers and Hammerstein Evening
Kritzerland presents/Mostly Rodgers and Hammerstein/with a Little Hart and a Little Sondheim/Sunday November 4/at Sterling's Upstairs at the Federal
And what "A Grand Night for Singing" it turned out to be! Not opening on the usual note, Bruce Kimmel presented a video of his YouTube web series Outside the Box, Season 2, episode 1 guest starring Hal Linden, who was present in the audience. Hilarity is at the core here as Linden gets a phone call asking him to appear as Father Merrin in The Exorcist the Musical, a true horror - no, not horrible - horror musical. The second scene is the actual shooting of his scene with Regan spewing green vomit to the music of one ridiculously funny original tune. Fun stuff which may be viewed on YouTube!
Then the Rodgers and Hammerstein fun began with singers Dennis Kyle, Stuart Ambrose, Shannon Warne, Jane Noseworthy and Lisa Livesay with special guest star Alvin Ing. Who does not relish the glorious tunes of these two, perhaps the greatest composers who ever lived! In true Kritzerland fashion, there were some big hit tunes and a few lesser known ones. Wonderful musical director Lloyd Cooper backed the program throughout the 95 minute set.
Well known highlights included: "The Sound of Music" and "Climb Ev'ry Mountain" from The Sound of Music sung by gloriously talented Shannon Warne. Jane Noseworthy supplied a lovely "Mr. Snow" from Carousel. Lisa Livesay did a beautiful job with "A Hundred Million Miracles" from Flower Drum Song as well as "In My Own Little Corner" from Cinderella. Stuart Ambrose, new to Kritzerland, lent his resounding baritone/tenor to "Soliloquy" from Carousel. Dennis Kyle rendered a smooth combo of "Blue Moon" and "This Can't Be Love". From the lesser known crop of tunes Alvin Ing, who created the lead in Sondheim's Pacific Overtures on Broadway, did a truly lilting "You Are Beautiful" in tandem with "My Best Love" from Flower Drum Song. Kyle really proved his versatility with two comic turns "The Man I Used to Be" from the 1955 failed Pipe Dream and then again with "Don't Marry Me" from Flower Drum Song. Apart from having a tremendously gifted voice, Kyle has a very expressive face and bubbling personality that he uses so well. Also less known were "Moon in My Window" by Noseworthy and the great "Do I Hear a Waltz?" from the little known but wonderful show of the same name by Sondheim and Rodgers, delivered so wonderfully by Livesay. Kimmel himself also got into the act singing a touching "Love Look Away" from Flower Drum Song - which seemed to have more songs than any other musical covered. Ambrose wowed the crowd once more with "Some Enchanted Evening" and "This Nearly Was Mine" from South Pacific and did a fabulous duet with the incomparable Warne on "We're Gonna Be All Right" also from Do I Hear a Waltz? The evening concluded with everyone joining in to sing a jubilant "I Whistle a Happy Tune" from The King and I.
As always a delicious evening of humor and song thanks to Kimmel and producer Adryan Russ! Kritzerland will be back on December 2 for their yearly Holiday Show which promises to be different, according to Kimmel, and featuring many surprises ... and a free gift for everyone attending! Yeah!
photo credit: Stan Mazin
guest star Alvin Ing