BWW Album Review: OUR TABLE Will Make You Want to Pull Up a Chair
Broadway Records has celebrated the recent release of a live concert recording of Our Table, composed by David Shire, with book and lyrics by Adam Gopnik and recorded at Feinstein's/54 Below in Winter 2019. The cast includes some of Broadway's finest: Melissa Errico, Constantine Maroulis, Andy Taylor, Mark Nelson, Tyler Jones, and Analise Scarpaci. Errico's daughter, Juliette McEnroe also lends her talent to the production.
The musical is inspired by two real-life restaurant-running New York couples. Errico plays ex-ballerina Claire, whose Union Square restaurant is in danger of closing due to real estate development. She and her husband, chef David, turn to Sergio (Maroulis) for help, but Sergio has his eye on more than just the struggling restaurant. This album tells the story of these vivacious characters in a multi-faceted way - touching upon the struggles and tears, while highlighting the ability to persevere, cherish family values, and even have some laughs along the way!
One of the musical's openers, " Most Beautiful Room" features upbeat piano music that hums along in the background as it describes the dream of attaining your own room in New York (not to own, of course!) The space is what you make of it and home is the place where all are welcome and you can come as you are (or you ain't) and feel secure. The soft, elegant music is a powerful reminder of family making the room beautiful and all of the memories captured over the years that really give it life. It's comforting and sweet, and takes you into a dreamy state of building a home that you can be proud of.
Errico's voice is impeccable and has such a gift for storytelling -- placing listeners right in the room. "Everyday Dance" takes you right back to Saturday morning ballet class, straight down to the pounding of your heart, as you await the teacher coming around to assess your pliés, relevés, and tendus. This woman is completely on her game until the reality of real life sets in and she's back to the demands of everyday life with running a restaurant and managing family responsibilities. This former dancer has gotten lost in the everyday motions and loses her identity in the other roles women take on. It's honest, emotional, and provides a real look into the "Everyday Dance" this woman must summon up the strength for.
Maroulis & Taylor lend their prized pipes to "Take My Life" - a reflective, candid, and declarative ballad about life in the restaurant biz. They share the good, bad, and the ugly, the stress and the glamour, of the life they chose and all of the demands and competition that go along with it. While their lives look very different year after year in terms of commitments and outlooks on love, they are able to come to an agreement at the end and move forward in brother ship. They can agree on advocating for everyday people. It sounds like a beautiful basis for embarking on a tough life together!
One song that deserves a few listens and breaks up the main storyline is "Espresso." It is a comical observation on how the world has changed. Images of drinking espresso in piazzas in Italy are no more, as coffeehouse chains have taken over and are selling this classic beverage at $6 a cup. It's amusing, truthful, and makes you stop and think how times have changed in the hustle and bustle - now we gulp down our espressos as we hurry to catch the subway. Where is the romance is that?
Brining us back to reality is the sensitive ballad, "And Then I'll Go" which examines the intimacy of human relationships. While we may know someone so well, we'll never quite know the pain they experience and if we can make it go away. On that same note, "A Slice of Life" gives you more for your money, than just a great slice of pizza. It finds the joy in simplicity and "making more of life with less." Sometimes we can't go to the most expensive cooking schools but learn how to make a restaurant run magically from the ones who matter most - our families. It's simple, yet deep and brings the most important parts of life full circle.
Ending on an inspiring and heartwarming note, "Our Table" brings listeners back into that small Brooklyn room in our favorite cozy restaurant around the corner. What it lacks in fanciness, it makes up for in good old-fashioned love. There's always a seat for you at the table and you'll always feel the glow of true happiness, as one-of-a-kind stories and anecdotes constantly flow among good people. What more can you ask for?