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Review: CHRISTINE ANDREAS: AND SO IT GOES is a Balm for Challenging Times at 54 Below

Christine Andreas Returns to 54 Below Sep. 24-25

Review: CHRISTINE ANDREAS: AND SO IT GOES is a Balm for Challenging Times at 54 Below
Photo by Helane Blumfield

Let's face it, we live in challenging times. Politics brings a new story of corruption into our living rooms every evening, racism has seen an uptick, "Me too" is exposing new scandals almost daily and the algorithms of Facebook and other social media are literally altering the reality we see before our eyes with an onslaught of misinformation and "alternative facts." In this climate of increasing divisiveness, we have seemingly forgotten how to love

That last bit is the focus of a new show by Broadway veteran Christine Andreas. Her show, AND SO IT GOES, which opened at 54 Below last evening, doesn't contain even a whiff of politics. But it focuses on the disjointedness the past decade or so has created in all our souls and holds up art and music as a way out of some of the chaotic noise that is making us lesser humans. It is a celebration of our collective humanity and an embrace of some of our best qualities as a species: kindness, tenderness, compassion, and love. That's a lot to pack into a 70 minute cabaret evening. But Christine Andreas is no ordinary cabaret performer. In addition to her prodigious gifts as a singer and actress, she has always used her keen mind to focus on the bigger questions. She set out constructing this show as a way to cheer herself up. But what evolved is much more. It is a journey into the darkness and out again.

She opened elegantly with Bock & Harnick's "She Loves Me," accompanied only by her one-man orchestra, Martin Silvestri, who also happens to be her husband. She followed with a very flamboyantly romantic version of "Love Is a Many Splendored Thing" which she halted midstream, explaining that she just wasn't feeling it and that romance was the last thing on her mind. She explained her conundrum in the beautiful "Laughing Matters" from When Pigs Fly. She got back to the subject of romance, or the lack of it, in Rodger's & Hart's "My Romance" which she combined with "Falling in Love With Love." She got to show off her thrilling soprano notes at the end of this number. She explained that she originally sang the song many years ago for the birthday of the great George Abbott. She read an excerpt from a fan letter the legendary director wrote to her several years before he directed her in On Your Toes. She rounded out a trio of Rodger's and Hart's songs with a very funny reading of "To Keep My Love Alive."

She moved into darker territory with the great Jimmy Van Heusen standard "Here's That Rainy Day." She used Amanda McBroom's sensitive song "Erroll Flynn" to talk about her father, from whom she inherited her sharp intelligence. He worked in the think tank of IBM helping to come up with some of the technology we enjoy today. The song is a heartbreaking ode to large minds in circumstances that don't use their full potential. She followed this up with Leonard Cohen's marvelous "Song of Bernadette," a tune about literally healing what has gone awry.

Christine Andreas had a special treat for us last night. She introduced us to her son, Mac, who is clearly the love of her life. It happened to be his birthday and she invited us all to sing a chorus of "Happy Birthday" with her. Her son's special needs inspired Martin Silvestri to write a song about him with his writing partner Joel Higgins. Andreas performed that lovely song "Somebody Special" in honor of her son's special day. She gave us the most beautiful song of the evening with a performance of "How Are Things in Glocca Morra?" complete with an Irish brogue.

Christine Andreas took a little break as she introduced a guest star, Italian singer Marco Romano. He took the stage to sing a wonderful number from Martin Silvestri's new show Casanova. The show was to have had its premiere last year but was postponed due to Covid. Romano embodied the famous lover in "La Serenissima." If the rest of the score is as rapturous as this number, I can't wait for the full production. Andreas returned to the stage for a beautiful duet with Romano. They combined "Some Enchanted Evening" and "Younger Than Springtime" from South Pacific into a gorgeous, bilingual medley.

Review: CHRISTINE ANDREAS: AND SO IT GOES is a Balm for Challenging Times at 54 Below
Photo by Helane Blumfield

The last section of the show really dealt with healing and love. She started with the title song of her show, Billy Joel's world-weary "And So It Goes." She followed up with John Lennon and Yoko Ono's "Grow Old With Me" which she dedicated to her enduring love affair with Martin Silvestri. She sang a wonderfully obscure Leonard Bernstein song from his short-lived 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. "Take Care of This House" is sung by Abigail Adams about the White House. But in this case, Christine Andreas uses it to mean our house, our country, and our hearts. This song was the apotheosis of the evening, a plea to return to loving and helping one another, for our own sake before it is too late. She continued this theme in the finale, combining "What a Wonderful World" with Leslie Bricusse's marvelous lyric in "If I Ruled the World." I would vote for Christine Andreas to rule the world. Her vision of love and unity is exactly what we need right now.

AND SO IT GOES with Christine Andreas performs again this evening at 54 Below. For tickets go to 54below.com. For more information on Christine Andreas visit christineandreas.com. To learn more about Marco Ramano follow him on Instagram @mardoromanoitaly. Christine Andreas and Martin Silvestri's music is available on Spotify and all other major streaming platforms.


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