BWW Review: RICHARD RODGERS Tribute Is A Resounding Delight
The spirit of Richard Rodgers remains alive and well in the hearts of musical devotees, as it should! One of the most prolific and highly regarded American composers (he was the first to snag an EGOT and a Pulitzer Prize), Rodgers' collaboration, first with Lorenz Hart and then with Oscar Hammerstein II, produced some of the most memorable show tunes in Broadway history.
On the evening of August 5th (at the Mary D. Fisher Theatre in Sedona, following a two-night engagement at Theatrikos Theatre Company in Flagstaff), a sampler of his genius was on display in RICHARD RODGERS IN SONG & STORY, a smooth and sweet revue that is the creation of Lynn Timmons Edwards.
Edwards has delighted audiences in the Metro Phoenix area with a string of Great American Songbook tributes (Sounds Like Sinatra, A Night at the Oscars). Now, in this homage to Rodgers, she has managed to draw from his repertoire of 900 songs and 43 Broadway musical scores and produce a seamless and inspired weave of some of his most popular songs.
It's a smart and classy show, featuring three songstresses, each of whom brings a distinctive vocal style to the show and who together produce beautiful harmony. Edwards, whose strong soprano vocals and passion for the music anchor the show, has selected her partners well. Jeanie Carroll, a highly regarded performer in Northern Arizona (Red RockAppella, Dynamite Divas) has a marvelous sense of the theatrical and rocks the stage with moving renditions of You'll Never Walk Alone and Climb Every Mountain. Christy Welty, whose performances in regional theatre (Ms. Harcourt in Anything Goes, the Beggar Woman in Mary Poppins) have won standing o's, adds the dimension of an operatically trained voice that rings high and true, for example, in With A Song In My Heart.
The trio, accompanied by veteran pianist and educator Charly Spining, is the vibrant SONG part of the show.
The STORY belongs to Bob Edwards, Lynn's hubby and a suave raconteur in his own right. Bob, posing as Rodgers, is the finely honed punctuation mark in the tribute, interjecting well-researched anecdotes that add spice and surprises to the musical feast and intermittently playing the object of Lynn's affections, requited or not. The pair provides a series of fun moments, playing off one another's romantic inclinations. In one instance, Lynn sings My Funny Valentine to a sheepish Bob. In another, while Lynn declares her love in A Wonderful Guy, Bob is mugging it up with a blonde in the front row, moving Lynn to pull a swift shift to her promise that I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair.
The show is a class act all the way around, delivered with panache and passion by Ms. Edwards and her marvelous ensemble. We look forward to what comes next and for whom her bell will toll.
The Sedona presentation of RICHARD RODGERS IN SONG & STORY was presented in collaboration with the Sedona Film Festival.
Photo credit to Theatrikos Theatre Company