BWW Reviews: Kritzerland's Second Birthday Show a Smash at Sterling's
On Saturday September 8, Kritzerland live performance concerts turned two years old and Bruce Kimmel celebrated the event with a potpourri of The Songs That Got Away at Sterling's Upstairs at the Federal, Kritzerland's newest monthly home base. Assisting Kimmel were regulars Dennis Kyle, Juliana Hansen, Jane Noseworthy, Lisa Livesay, joined this time by Kevin Symons, 13 year-old Jenna Rosen and sisters Sami and Sarah Staitman. There was not one guest star, not two, not three... but five, yes five and all exceptional talents: Back to the Future's favorite mom and TV's favorite Caroline in the City Lea Thompson, showboy Jason Graae and representing Ruthless, LA's 1993 runaway musical hit: Joan Ryan, Rita McKenzie and Lindsay Ridgeway.
The 105 minute show had 22 numbers, but it all seemed to fly by with one amazing performer after another. This time around more of the tunes were familiar, and several composers were honored instead of the usual one. Highlights: Kevin Symons and Dennis Kyle opened joyfully with Rodgers' and Hart's "Dear Old Syracuse" from The Boys from Syracuse; Lisa Livesay sent Stephen Schwartz's "West End Avenue" soaring as well as sizzling with "Too Darn Hot" from Kiss Me Kate. Juliana Hansen did a terrific rendition of the dynamic "Disneyland"; Dennis Kyle performed a vibrant "Born to Late"("At the Disco"), giving him ample time to frolic about and have a ball; Jane Noseworthy's lovely soprano was perfect for Sondheim's "I Remember Sky"; Jenna Rosen did a jaw-dropping job with Sondheim's fast-paced "The Glamorous Life" cut from A Little Night Music; and the Staitman sisters stopped the show with favorites "Sisters" from White Christmas and "If Momma Was Married" from Gypsy.
Guest star Lea Thompson (pictured) more than proved her worth as a singer with Bells Are Ringing's "It's a Perfect Relationship" coupled with the melancholy "The Party's Over"; Jason Graae lovingly 'picked on' Michael Sterling with one hilarious plea for a makeover "You've Got Possibilities" in combo with "Popular" from Wicked. Sterling is oh so charming and such a good sport! The piece de resistance of the evening came with Ruthless and original cast members Joan Ryan essaying the comical "Tina's Mother" and "It Will Never" in her inimitable way, Rita McKenzie, drop-dead funny with "I Hate Musicals" and Lindsay Ridgeway, now 27 performing "Born to Entertain". She was a mere 8 when she did it originally in 1993 and stopped the show nightly. Funnyman Kimmel also stepped in with the tuneful "If I Had My Druthers" from L'il Abner.
What a great show, what a bevy of talent on one stage! Next month on Sunday, October 7: a salute to the one and only Marvin Hamlisch. Don't miss it! This show sold out early, so reserve now! call: 818-754-8700!
Don hails from Holyoke, Massachusetts and holds two Masters Degrees from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in Education and Bilingual Studies. He is a teacher of foreign language and ESL.
Don is in his fifth year with BWW, currently serving as Senior Editor of the Los Angeles Page.
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