Conceived by Marc Kudisch
Created by Marc Kudisch with Merwin Foard,
Jeff Mattsey and Timothy Splain
Directed by David Dower
Music Direction by Timothy Splain
Produced by Hershey Felder
At the Royal George Theatre, Chicago
A baritone is a type of classical male singing voice whose vocal range lies between the bass and the tenor voice types. It is the most common male voice.
There have been many versions of the Three Tenors, including tours by Luciano Pavarotti, Placido Domingo and Jose Carreras in the 1990’s. Later, The Three Irish Tenors started touring, including John McDermott, Anthony Kearns, and Ronan Tynan. These wildly successful tours brought classical, pop, and ethnic music to millions. I was privileged to have witnessed both of these wonderful concerts. Who doesn’t love a tenor? We all do. But what about the baritones?
Well, impresario Hershey Felder found an amazing musical play (a docu-musical) that both educates and plays homage to the “every-man” male voice of the baritone. Yes, Baritones Unbound! performed by Mark Delavan, Nathan Gunn, and Marc Kudisch explores “the uncommon voice of the common man,” but the three singers are anything but “common.” They are each strong singers, each with a different range that defines a baritone. Together, they teach and demonstrate the history of the baritone in music. From Mozart’s Papageno in The Magic Flute to Rossini, to Verdi, the baritone emerged in stature moving, from a hero to anti-hero to romantic voice of the common man – the baritone now rules music.
From the versatile clear baritone from Marc Kudisch, to the smooth melodic polished Nathan Gunn, to the rich deep voiced Mark Delavan, we hear a exemplary assortment of opera, operetta, and Broadway tunes as each of the three dazzling singers narrate and, at times, comically present the great baritone songbook. These marvelous performers also play tribute to famous Broadway baritones including Howard Keel, Gordan McRae, Alfred Drake, Paul Robeson, and Robert Goulet, among others. From “Some Enchanted Evening” through “Old Man River” to “Sweeney Todd” many of the famous “baritone songs” are magically sung by the three major talents. This song-fest has laughs, nostalgia, and a moving musical adventure of the finest assortment of baritone songs! We hear from crooners like Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra, to Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash as the modern baritones get their say.
The excellent piano work by music director/accompanist Timothy Splain and the polished direction by David Dower add pleasure to this stellar work. Baritones Unbound! is a holiday treat running only through January 3, 2016. Baritones Unbound! is a slick, richly sung baritone’s delight. It is a “can’t miss” theatrical event that begs to be seen. It is one of the best production seen on a Chicago stage this year!
Talk Theatre in Chicago podcast
Date Reviewed: December 13, 2015
For more info checkout the Baritones Unbound! page at theatreinchicago.com
At the Royal George Theatre, 1641 N. Halsted, Chicago, Il, call 312-988-9000, www.ticketmaster.com, tickets $60, Wednesdays & Thursdays at 7:30 pm, Fridays at 8 pm, Saturdays at 3 & 8 pm, Sundays at3 pm, running time is 2 houes 20 minutes with intermission, through January 3, 2016