Wednesday, November 17, 2010

All the Things You Are: Jerome Kern

The Broadway Close Up series at Merkin Hall presented a lovely evening of Jerome Kern songs last Monday. There was no patter--just luscious singing. Director Denis Jones set up some of the songs as entertaining or touching vignettes (never letting his ideas overshadow the lyricists' intent) and had the show moving like clockwork (fluid, graceful clockwork). Kate Baldwin, Heidi Blickenstaff, Colin Donnell, Rebecca Luker, Graham Rohat, and Matthew Scott presented over 30 of Kern's songs, from his biggest hits to some little-known wonders. And they sang unmiked! The evening wasn't perfect. There were some songs that could have been sung better--or louder--and some of the interpretations didn't quite work. The singers sometimes spent too much time looking at each other, rather than the audience, probably making it difficult for people in the rear of the theatre to hear. But the positives far, far, far outweighed the negatives, and the overall effect was magical. Kudos to director Jones, musical director David Loud, artistic director Sean Hartley, and particularly to pianist Jihwan Kim, who played nonstop--and beautifully--for 90 intermissionless minutes.

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