BWW Review: A Truly ENCHANTED EVENING at Winter Park Playhouse
If you took almost all your favorite Rodgers and Hammerstein songs and put them together into one two-hour playlist you'd have SOME ENCHANTED EVENING at Winter Park Playhouse. This combination of hit songs performed by some of Orlando's best voices make for a thoroughly enjoyable night. It's like a Rodgers and Hammerstein Pandora station without commercials.
While there is no discernable plot, all of the Rodgers and Hammerstein songs string together in a way that make sense. It appears that love is a constant theme throughout and there are smooth transitions from song to song. It's a lot of music stuffed into two acts, but feels so quick. It is interesting to hear all the different tempos and key signatures that Richard Rodgers used throughout his career. The lyrics of Oscar Hammerstein are distinctive, meaningful and poetic.
In SOME ENCHANTED EVENING everything is represented from OKLAHOMA! To SOUTH PACIFIC and ALLEGRO to CAROUSEL and so many more. My only complaint would be that there is only one song from my favorite RH show, CINDERELLA. But with so much content, it is understandable for choosing to narrow the selection. There is a definite temptation to sing along, but as the pre-show messaging exclaims, "Don't!" Especially because you need to hear these voices.
The cast boasts five vocal powerhouses and Winter Park Playhouse favorites: Heather Kopp, Monica Titus, Natalie Cordone, Dustin Cunningham, and Kevin Kelly. Not to mention the amazing Chris Leavy on-stage and his musicians who accompany the whole time. All the performers are great soloist, so you can only imagine what happens when their talents combine. My favorite numbers in the show were group numbers and medleys that opened each act and spersed throughout. It's fun to think (in your head), "Oh I know that one is from..." and look at your Musical Numbers list and be correct.
While all the performers are great soloists too, some solos stood out among the rest, namely anything Dustin CunninghaM. Cunningham got "Lonely Room" from OKLAHOMA, "This Nearly Was Mine" from SOUTH PACIFIC and "Soliloquy" from CAROUSEL. Each time this bari/bass stood entered on stage alone there was a breath of anticipation and we were not disappointed. We need more Dustin Cunningham performing in Orlando.
Heather Kopp also stood out to me in the second act for her goofy portrayal or a desperate love struck woman. Kopp is fantastic at character interpretation while maintaining a stunning vocal performance. Who can resist the glowy "A Cockeyed Optimist"?
The set is simple with a glittery backdrop and a baby grand piano on a platform setting the stage for this enchanting good time. The costumes were simple, yet refined, as each character (who actually had names for some unknown reason) was a different solid color.
Overall SOME ENCHANTED EVENING was enjoyable, light and a great night out. Directed by Roy Allen, SOME ENCHANTED EVENING runs until August 20th. For tickets and more information visit www.winterparkplayhouse.org.
Photo credit: Michael Cairns