KRITZERLAND Offers a Delectable Brunch Matinee
On Sunday June 2, Kritzerland celebrated its 99th performance with a special brunch matinee at Feinstein's Upstairs at Vitello's, entitled June Is Brunching Out All Over. It was supposed to be a tribute to Harry Warren, but as host Bruce Kimmel explained, it's often better to throw in a few other songs from different composers...so the show was a mix...and delightful with musical director Richard Allen at the keys and a bevy of exceedingly talented singers including special guest Bill Hayes...Kim Huber, Kelley Dorney, Jenna Lea Rosen, Robert Yacko, Damon Kirsche and Bruce Kimmel himself perfoming a lovely solo number "Hushabye Mountain" by The Sherman Brothers for the film "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang".
Kimmel, of course, introduced the afternoon with his usual banter about being an elderly Jew who must read from the paper and tossed in a Jewish joke or two, like "My mama always sang "My Yiddisha Mama" every night. She was never asked." Kimmel makes fun of himself, and that's what makes him an enjoyable mensch. His many insights into the shows and detailed facts about how long they played, success or failure, etc. are the enlightening stories he shares with us. Kritzerland does perform a few well known songs, but highlights the lesser known ones, some of which are beautiful and you wonder why they were either cut from the show or never made it to the popular music charts. The almost 90 minute matinee was a sellout and was backed splendidly by virtuoso pianist Richard Allen who switched time to ime to an portable keyboard.
Highlights included: Kim Huber's terrific "Que Sera, Sera", in tribute to our recent loss Doris Day and a gorgeous duet with Robert Yacko "Too Many Mornings" from Sondheim's Follies. Yacko performed a fab "The Hungry Years" by pop song writer Neil Sedaka. Damon Kirsche and Yacko dueted on Sondheim's "Agony" from Into the Woods and then reprised a verse or two later. Jenna Lea Rosen did a rousing opening with two Harry Warren songs "Lullaby of Broadway" and "We're In the Money". Kelley Dorney wowed the crowd with "Didn't We" and with the highly amusing Bruce Kimmel tune about a bus and truck tour called "Who Do I Have to Blank to Get Out of This Show".
Kirsche also swimmingly performed two famous Harry Warrens, called the adapted Warren Report by Kimmel, :"I Found a Million Dollar Baby in the Five and Ten Cent Store" and "42nd Street".
Bill Hayes deserves a paragraph all to himself. He performed a stunning "When I Fall in Love" medley and led the finale sing a long, the theme from "Davy Crockett". This man is about to turn 94 and not only looks incredible but sounds wonderful too. How many singers over 80 still sing live? Barbara Cook did it...and Florence Henderson. On the male side of the fence, it's Bill Hayes. God bless him! He is a delightful actor/performer and human being.
This was a delectable show. Kritzerland will take July off and return in August for more fun and games. Be sure to make early reservations, as these shows sell out.
(photo credit: Karen Staitman)
Feinstein's Upstairs at Vitello's is to be complimented on its fine food and great service. The brunch was not a buffet, but order off the menu and included such delectable treats as Classic Benny - eggs benedict and a Very Berry Belgian Waffle with maple syrup, powdered sugar and blueberries. The delicious pasta dishes were also on hand... and. my favorite, their famous calamari and shrimp appetizer. The waitresses and host were swift, efficient and extremely friendly.