Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living In Paris

I needn't have worried that this revue (one of my favorite shows in town) would lose its spark almost a year into its run: this was one of the best performances of the show I've seen yet. I can't say I didn't miss Natascia Diaz (who's left the show to do Carnival in DC) but her replacement, Jayne Paterson, sings passionately and chooses restraint and stillness to great effect. I have to hand it to Robert Cuccioli and Gay Marshall - they've been at this for nearly a year but you'd never know it from their emotionally-charged, vocally impressive performances. (An added bonus was that this particular audience was keenly appreciative: bravo's and brava's greeted "Amsterdam," "Marieke," and several other numbers.) The show has a new musical director (its third?) in Rick Hip-Flores, who is fun to watch and obviously capable. The big question mark was the stunt casting of American Idol also-ran Constantin Maroulis: he gets the material, he's relaxed and natural on stage, he sings with great feeling, and he pulled off "Next" more convincingly than anyone else I've seen. He fits right in.

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