BWW Review: ALL THE THINGS YOU ARE: JEROME KERN Delights Audiences at Atlas Performing Arts Center
The Great American Songbook consists of the country's greatest popular songs and jazz standards - a staple of Americans' musical history. At the intimate Sprenger Theater at the Atlas Performing Arts Center, director Brian J. Shaw and company perform renowned composer Jerome Kern's greatest hits in a delightful cabaret.
Taking place in a luxurious New York hotel a la Waldorf Astoria and Algonquin style, the company entertains by singing, tap dancing and sweeping the audience in a dreamy setting fit for another decade.
Suzanne Lane, a DC-based actress and singer is very cute and sly as a maid, dazzling on the sassy "She Didn't Say Yes." She shares a strong chemistry with the bellhop, Cornelius David, a polished local opera singer whose boyish charm and talent shine on stage.
The company is strong - possessing robust, beautiful voices, as they rotate through Kern's songbook. There is little dancing, with some ballroom and tap dancing occasionally thrown in, but the strongest vocalist of the company is Elizabeth Mondragon whose gorgeous soprano soars on "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" and wows on the delicious "I Want to Sing In Opera," erupting in monstrous applause.
Some other standout voices are Garrett Matthews and Krislynn Perry.
While there are some kinks in the show - like voices that could have blended better in the opening and a few pitchy notes by singers, the show does not fail to fulfill its purpose - entertain and bring us back to the classic staples of musical theater.
The show pays homage to Kern, a composer who may be unfamiliar with some of musical theater's youngest fans. The show is perfect for those who want to enjoy and get a taste of some of the standards that still evoke inspiration for shows today. If you still love the sweet songbirds and heroic, sturdy tenors and basses of a Rodgers and Hammerstein or Leonard Bernstein score, this cabaret is ideal for a date night with a loved one. While few millennials might not prefer a Kern cabaret over a "Mean Girls" or "Hamilton" showing, cabarets like the In Series give crash courses for people who want to revisit the American Songbook.
As director Brian J. Shaw said, "no matter where you stand, his music is such a tonic for the times." I, and perhaps many other musical theater composers -- old and new -- could not agree more.
Photo credits: Angelisa Gillyard