Kritzerland Spends February at the Movies
Just in time for our Oscar indulgence, Bruce Kimmel joined the bandwagon of Oscar tantalizers by presenting his monthy Kritzerland show, this month entitled Kritzerland Goes to the Movies, at Sterling's Upstairs at the Federal in tribute to Academy Award worthy music: songs that won an Oscar, songs that were nominated and those that were not but should have been. Monday February 3 was a fun evening with fantastic Shelly Markham at the piano as musical director and six stellar performers including John Sloman, Shannon Warne, Dennis Kyle, Lisa Livesay, Emma Degerstedt and young songstress Brennley Brown. Also on hand for our pleasure were special guest star composer and three-time Academy Award winner Richard Sherman and actress/song stylist Andrea Marcovicci.
Highlights of the oh so pleasant musical mix included Oscar winning songs "Moon River", "Days of Wine and Roses", "Tammy", "The Way We Were", "Arthur's Song" and a Mary Poppins medley from its Oscar-winning composer Richard Sherman. Also on tap were cherished songs like "As Time Goes By" from Casablanca, but originally written for Broadway's Everybody's Welcome and "Wind Beneath My Wings" made popular by Bette Midler in 1982's Beaches, but which had originally been written as a pop song recorded by Lou Rawls among other artists. There were also unforgettables like "Unchained Melody" which had more than one incarnation, its latest association with Ghost and then, as in all Kritzerland shows, lesser known tunes like "Pick Yourself Up" from 1936's Swing Time and the delightful "Pass Me By" from 1964's Father Goose.
Every singer was in top form. Warne brought down the house with "Nobody Does It Better" and "The Man That Got Away" from Judy Garland's A Star Is Born. Kyle was ingeniously fun tapping his toes to "If I Only Had a Brain" from The Wizard of Oz. Livesay scored with a combo of "I'll Never Say Goodbye" and "The Way We Were". Degerstedt did a sparkling job with "Something's Gotta Give" from Daddy Long Legs. Sloman had his finest hour with a Western medley, which included "Do Not Forsake Me" from High Noon, "I Want to Ride Again" from 3:10 to Yuma and "He Rode a Blazing Saddle" from Mel Brooks' hysterically funny Blazing Saddles. Brennley Brown blew us over with "Over the Rainbow". What can we add about the phenomenal Richard Sherman? Well, this lovely man sat at the piano and sang "Chim Chim Cher-ee", "Supercalifragilistic" and "Feed the Birds" from his Oscar winner Mary Poppins. What a treat! And, fine actress and song stylist Andrea Marcovicci is always full of surprises, this time around with Randy Newman's "When She Loved Me" from Toy Story 2, replete with a tiny puppet that she deliciously incorporated into her patter and song. What a versatile actress and elegant lady!
It was a lovely, perfect evening to set the musical mood for the Oscars, which will be presented Sunday March 2. And, on Monday March 3, Kritzerland will return for a Salute to the Broadway Shows of Harold Prince. Reserve early, as all shows sell out quickly.
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(photo credit: Don Grigware)