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BWW Reviews: Kritzerland Salutes Comden and Green: It's a Perfect Relationship

On Sunday April 7 Kritzerland presented its monthly tribute to great composers, this time around in honor of the incomparable lyricists Betty Comden and Adolph Green, entitled Just in Time: The Songs of Betty Comden and Adolph Green.

For those of you who may have forgotten, Comden and Green were successful in writing lyrics for film as well as stage. Two of their biggest superhits were the movie Singin' in the Rain and Broadway's Bells Are Ringing. They often collaborated with Jule Styne and Leonard Bernstein. But of course, they had their share of flops and Kritzerland does its best work in presenting beautiful material from the failures as well as the hits. On hand were host Bruce Kimmel - I mean Guy Haines, no I don't, I mean Bruce Kimmel (he must stop switching identities; I'm getting too elderly to keep up!), and lovely Lisa Livesay, Cynthia Ferrer, Madison Claire Parks - a stellar performer at only 17- Damon Kirsche, Robert Yacko, Jenna Rosen and special guest the wacky and forever talented Jason Graae. Wonderful pianist Lloyd Cooper served as musical director throughout. Talk about virtuosos!

Highlights of the evening included: Cynthia Ferrer showing comic finesse with "One Hundred Ways to Lose a Man" from 1982's My Sister Eileen, and then a simply stunning "Make Someone Happy" from Do Re Mi; dynamic tenor Damon Kirsche performed a hilarious "My Fortune Is My Face" from the failed Fade Out Fade In, which costarred Jack Cassidy and Carol Burnett, and the riveting opener "Fireworks" from Do Re Mi; Lisa Livesay was stunning with "If" from Two on the Aisle and later with Judy Holliday's great numbers "It's a Perfect Relationship" and "The Party's Over" from Bells Are Ringing; Robert Yacko's rich baritone was on great display with "Lucky To Be Me" from On the Town and the sweet, gentle "Never Met a Man I Didn't Like" from Will Rogers Follies; Madison Claire Parks became the true star of the evening with "Some Other Time" from On the Town, and the deliciously biting "Never" from On the Twentieth Century; Jenna Rosen was delightful essaying the finale "Never Never Land" from Peter Pan, which Kimmel described as one of the most beautiful songs ever written. Kimmel himself did a fine job with "Just in Time", and the piece-de-resistance was Jason Graae's "Wrong Note Rag" from Wonderful Town. Hilariously off-key, it can only be done well by a truly great singer and comedian...Graae assuredly overflows in both departments!

What a fun-packed evening! It is a Perfect Relationship: how versatile Comden and Green were together in putting just the right words to both sad ballads and frenzied, fast-paced numbers! We were also treated to an episode of Outside the Box, Kimmel's web series which has become such a hit on BroadwayWorld. This time we witnessed the insane antics of Animal Farm, where all the actors oinked, mooed and brayed up a storm.

Next month May 5, it's a tribute to Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse, so mark your calendars! These performances are early sellouts and you do not want to miss out! Call 818-754-8700.

Photo Credit: Jim Spada

left to right: Damon Kirsche, Cynthia Ferrer, Lisa Livesay

left to right: Jenna Rosen, Madison Claire Parks, Robert Yacko

left to right: Madison Claire Parks, Jason Graae

left to right: producer Adryan Russ, musical director Lloyd Cooper, Madison Claire Parks, Robert Yacko, Cynthia Ferrer, Jason Graae, Damon Kirsche, Lisa Livesay, Jenna Rosen

From This Author - Don Grigware

  Don Grigware was a writer for BroadwayWorld through December 2019.                             ... (read more about this author)