BWW Reviews: Kritzerland's BERLIN TO ROME - Lovely Generations of Musicality
On May 3, Kritzerland At Sterling's Upstairs at The Federal presented its 57th edition of their monthly themed musical theater cabarets, this one titled Berlin to Rome, The Songs of Irving Berlin & Harold Rome. Producer/host Bruce Kimmel, as always, provides a cornucopia of interesting Broadway trivia. Quite easy to see Kimmel performing a one-man stand-up consisting of the now-famous with their humble, sometime inconspicuous beginnings. Kimmel namedrops quite a few recognizable theatre luminaries (for an audience of a certain age) connected to their respective first Broadway experiences before they became household names. Take Barbra Streisand: she lost her first Tony nomination (for I Can Get It For You Wholesale) to Phyllis Newman but won the hand of leading man Elliott Gould in marriage.
This month's theme unintentionally became "generations," as the youngster and the senior stole the show from the others of the talented line-up of singing pros. The seventeen tunes were delivered quite melodiously by the collective stirring voices of Brittney Bertier, Sydney DeMaria, Damon Kirsche, Madison Claire Parks, Adrienne Visnic, Robert Yacko, and special guest Terri White. The "youngster" DeMaria exhibited very grown-up and seasoned chops as she charmed with her rendition of "Be Kind to Your Parents" from Rome's Fanny. Terri White brought her 30+ years of stage experience to nail her "Blue Skies" complemented by the especially delightful piano stylings of musical director John Boswell. This Berlin composition for Rogers & Hart's Betsy sent chills, with White's scatting being the cherry on top.
And in another generational reference; Parks, the granddaughter of Betty Garrett covered Garrett's hit "South America, Take It Away" from Rome's Call Me Mister. Grandma Garrett would have been proud!
Performing a variety of comedic numbers, Visnic reveled in her serious ballad "They Say It's Wonderful/I Got Lost in His Arms," both from Berlin's Annie get Your Gun.
Bertier shared infectious fun in her flirty, comic "Shopping Around" from Rome's Wish You Were Here.
Kirsche's grabbed his best moment on stage with his romantic interpretation of Berlin's "Reaching for the Moon(Reaching for the Moon)/How Deep is the Ocean (not from a show but originally introduced on the radio)."
Yacko applied his booming baritone voice to great use in the title song of Rome's Fanny. He really seemed basking in his element channeling Fred Astaire in "Top Hat, White Tie and Tails (Top Hat)/Steppin'Out with My Baby(Easter Parade)/Cheek to Cheek(Top Hat)."