Monday, October 18, 2010
Bewitched, The Songs of Rodgers and Hart
It’s been four days since I saw “Bewitched, The Songs of Rodgers and Hart” at The Triad and the charm of that special evening is still with me. It’s a cabaret show that resounds with talent, triumph and tremendous group spirit. The one-hour show is a joy from start to finish.
The 11 singer are members of The Philhallmonic Society, which was founded and is directed by composer/arranger/playwright Phil Hall. The Broadway, cabaret and classical singers contribute their talents to support humanitarian causes. They sing their hearts out to send a message which is all too often forgotten: it is never too late to follow your passion, and, by doing so, find fulfillment and help others.
Thursday night’s premiere benefit concert was hosted by cabaret superstar KT Sullivan, a giving and witty performer who, like my friend Phil Hall, has participated in two Broadway Blessings. She started the evening off with a laugh when she commented on the group’s publicity shot, “It looks like ‘Sex and the City’ meets ‘Glee.’”
With Phil at the piano, the women filled the stage and flowed into the aisles to sing a zesty opening, “The Lady Is a Tramp.” The voices of Karen Arlington, Dolly Ellen Friedman, Jani Gerard, Wendy Kelly, Valerie Lemon Rendon, Robin Manning, Linda Sue Moshier, Mary Anne Prevost, Rachael Robbins, Amanda Serra and Diana Silva filled the theatre, surrounding the full-house crowd.
Then, what I loved so much, after each woman sang her solo, she gave a warm intro to the singer who followed. As staged by choreographer Mark Santoro, this touch conveyed a sense of family that was moving and is something that can be alien in the competitive world of show business.
Among the highlights were Karen Arlington, backed up by the “Ladies,” as the program calls them, soaring with “Falling in Love,” Wendy Kelly’s smooth and sublime “Bewitched,” Mary Ann Prevost, Linda Sue Moshier and Robin Manning’s sassy “Sing for Your Supper” and Rachel Robbins’s vampy “Zip.” My soul was touched by Diana Silva’s “My Funny Valentine” and “I Wish I Were in Love Again,” and Moshier had us all spellbound by her “Spring Is Here.”
I have most of these songs and more on a two-record Ella Fitzgerald album. It’s lovely to see her torch passed so brightly here. And so it is with a song in my heart that I strongly encourage you to make it to the encore performance at 9 p.m. Friday that will feature Sumayya Ali, Karen Arlington, Mary Lou Barber, Dolly Ellen Friedman, Jani Gerard, Phil Hall, Wendy Kelly, Valerie Lemon Rendon, Robin Manning, Linda Sue Moshier, Mary Anne Prevost, Rachael Robbins, Amanda Serra, Diana Silva and Erika Smith.
With the motto “singing so others can soar,” the women perform for free to benefit various charitable organizations. Past recipients have included The Actors Fund Home and The Salvation Army residence.
The Triad Theatre is at 158 W. 72nd St. Tickets are $20 general admission and $30 for premium seating, with a two-drink minimum; cash only on premises. To purchase tickets visit www.smarttix.com. For more information, visit www.thephilhallmonicsociety.org.