Directed by Rudy Hogenmiller
Music Director & conductor: Linda Madonia
Produced by Light Opera Works
At Nichols Concert Hall, Evanston
“I am the greatest collaborator there is.” – Jule Styne
Superbly sung Jule Styne songbook features many memorable standards.
Light Opera Works has solved how to do stage worthy musical revues. First, select a composer with a large enough songbook to make a full revue. Second, assemble a terrific group of singers who represent different age groups and singing styles. And, lastly, get a creative music director to do music and vocal arrangements. And, of course, have a director who arrange movements to help ‘sell’ the meaning or spirit of each song. All of these elements were deftly presented on the Jule Styne revue: Le Me Entertain You.
With terrific singers like Justin Adair, Larry Adams, Emily Barnash, Kelly Britt, William Roberts and Mary Robin Roth, Styne’s varied songbook is in fine hands. His love songs, ballads, ditties, anthem, and motivational themes are sung with gusto and aplomb. From the Gypsy medley (lyrics by Stephen Sondheim) we get a introduction of Styne’s flexibility. From the sensual “Let Me Entertain You” to whimsical “Together Wherever We Go” to the powerful motivations anthem “Everything’s Coming Up Roses,” we are impressed and hooked on Styne’s talent.
Tunes from Funny Girl (lyrics by Bob Merrill) with like know shows that produced songs that became standards, this songfest produces one tuneful song after another. we remember songs like “The Party’s Over,” ” Don’t Rain on My Parade,” I’ve Heard That Song Before,” “It’s Been A Long Time,” “Saturday Night Is the Loneliest Night of the Week, “It’s Magic, ” “Time After Time,” and “Make Someone Happy” and “People” are among the wonderful tunes that not only were sung expertly but presented with their meaning or spirit.
While each of the six had their featured moments, Mary Robin Roth with her high-energy and wonderful presentation skills allowed her to nail songs like “Everything’s Coming Up Roses.” Larry Adams’ leading many persona and Justin Adair’s smooth tenor and William Roberts rich bass-baritone sounded fine. Add the classically trained power voices from Kelly Britt and Emily Barnash and this group beautifully nailed solos, duets and six-part harmonies making Styne’s songbook soar! Music director, conductor and pianist Linda Madonia helped make the song’s come to life. Joey Krzysiak on bass and Joey Zymonas on Drums completed the rhythm section to accompany to singers.
Let Me Entertain You: Jule Styne’s Greatest Hits is a fine revue that will ‘entertain you’ as well as showcase a major composer who collaborated with great lyricists like Stephen Sondheim, Sammy Cahn, Betty Comden & Adolph Green, Bob Merrill and E. Y. Harburg. Once you attend this outstanding revue, you’ll appreciate the genius of Jule Styne.
Date Reviewed: October 7, 2016
For more info checkout the Let Me Entertain You: Jule Styne’s Greatest Hits page at theatreinchicago.com
At Nicholas Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Ave., Evanston, IL, call 847-920-5360, www.lightoperaworks.org, tickets start at $30, ages 25 and younger !/2 price, Sunday, Oct. 9 at 2pm, Wednesday, Oct 12 at 2pm, Thursday, Oct. 13 at 2 pm, Friday, Oct 14 at 8 pm, Saturday, Oct 15 at 2 & 8 pm, Sunday, Oct 16 at 2 pm, running time is 1 hour 55 minute with intermission, through October 16, 2016.