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BWW Review: SIMPLY MUSICALS at L'Auguste Théâtre


Manila, London, Paris

November has been a very busy month for musical theater in Paris. On top of the big shows opening at Mogador, Théâtre du Gymnase, and Théâtre de Paris, the Auguste Théâtre has been hosting a very intimate musical entitled Simply Musicals: Manila, London, Paris. Produced by Pinoy Jam Paris in patnership with the association Paris Broadway Saigon in 2012, it is a cabaret show with a storyline showcasing the talented baritone Dennis Astorga and the delightful soprano Charley Magalit, accompanied by the magic fingers of musical director Thomas MacFarlane at the piano.

BWW Review: SIMPLY MUSICALS at L'Auguste Théâtre

The eclectic selections of well and lesser known songs from Broadway and West End musicals are used to enhance the everyday lives of the two dynamic protagonists. Kicking off the evening with a spirited medley of "Starting Here, Starting Now," title song of the musical review by Maltby and Shire, "Tonight" from West Side Story, and "It's a Grand Night for Singing," from the movie musical State Fair by Rogers and Hammerstien. The couple then ventures into two pieces from Manilan musical theater, "Makikiliti Ka" ("You'll Be Tickled") and "Minsan Ang Minahal Ay Ako" ("I Was Once the Beloved") before coming back to Broadway with "Not My Father's Song," from Kinky Boots, performed by Dennis, and "Waiting for Life" from Steven Flaherty and Lynn Ahren's Once in This Island. It was a good idea to include "Home" from the overlooked Maury Yeston, eclipsed by the Lloyd Webber version, spectacularly delivered by Charley. Dennis has his best tongue in cheek moment with "Gay Paris" from the movie Victor/Victoria, written by the late Henry Mancini. The dynamic duet "Bad Idea" from Waitress by Sarah Bareilles follows, then does "Dicky's Aria" from the French musical Cabaret des hommes perdus by Patrick Laviosa (2006). "You Don't Know/I am the One" from Next to Normal by Tom Kitt is an animated husaband and wife dialogue, as is "Still Hurting" from The Last Five Years by Jason Robert Brown. Getting back to the golden age with "On the Street Where You Live" from Lerner and Loewe's My Fair Lady, the evening reaches its climax with "Somebody Somewhere" from the underrated operatic musical The Most Happy Fella, written by the great Frank Loesser, and "Only Us" from Dear Evan Hansen by Pasek and Pau. "The Impossible Dream" from The Man From La Mancha is an apt conclusion to this emotional journey, and as an encore the song "Comédie Musical" from Stéphane Ly-Cuong's French musical Cabaret Jaune Citron, was a very good idea, summing up the vocation of musical theater as a lens for seeing life in a different way and expressing emotions through singing and dancing when simple words and everyday movements are not enough.

BWW Review: SIMPLY MUSICALS at L'Auguste Théâtre

This little gem of a chamber piece musical was expertly directed by Sylvain Mathis with choreography with Cathy Arondel. An additional show is expected for December.

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