Monday, January 29, 2018

Songs All Weekend

It was a grand night for singing. We had figured out how to get free tickets for a performance at the Kogod Cradle theater in the Arena Stage complex of Leonard Bernstein's Theatre Songs, which was...just wonderful. The show was put on by about 15 students in Catholic University's Music Theatre program. They could sing--tough stuff like "Glitter and Be Gay" from Candide, and dance--the male chorus doing "Gee, Officer Krupke" from West Side Story.

The show moved from number to number without any wasted time spent on a book and was smoothly executed as if it had been staged by George Abbott. The kids were more than all right. They also had lots of charm and were constantly in motion, or so it seemed. Many songs were not that familiar--from On the Town and Wonderful Town

All in all, a wonderful night out. Then on Sunday we enjoyed the cabaret put on by The IN Series at the Atlas. It was a marathon of Jerome Kern songs, only it also moved with some costuming and occasional dance steps. The performers were a few years older and used their get-ups to get into some of the songs.

The high point was the six straight numbers near the end of the second act from Showboat. Jarrod Lee even produced a very respectable and moving rendition of Ol' Man River. Short of Paul Robeson magically materializing onstage, it couldn't have been better. Suzanne Lane provided a nice presentation of Bill, the one song in the show that Kern threw in from his trunk, it having been written some years before with lyrics by P. G. Wodehouse.

Once again, the show moved well and they packed a whole lot of songs in. Kern was a half-generation older than the great generation of songwriters--the Gershwins, Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, Harold Arlen, for starters. So soon after the turn of the century, he was doing "How'd You Like to Spoon With Me" and lots of marvelous tunes like "They Didn't Believe Me" and then clever stuff like "She Didn't Say Yes" from The Cat and the Fiddle.

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