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A CurtainUp Review
Anything Can Happen in the Theater: The Musical World of Maury Yeston
If inclined, you can now experience a refresher or an awakening to the worthiest selections from Yeston's canon as sung, danced and otherwise showcased for five personable and talented performers in a revue being presented by the York Theatre Company. So maybe the songs from the shows Titanic , Grand Hotel and Nine don't automatically ring bells of recognition in your head, but you might want to give them a chance in this presentation conceived and directed by Gerard Alessandrini, of Forbidden Broadway fame. It probably isn't a coincidence that F.B. is soon moving over to the York following its successful run at the Triad.
Those who have seen the enjoyable and more than slightly off-center comedy of F.B. will see how Alessandrini's gift for bringing new life to songs lifted from their original source is the backbone of this 75-minute retrospective smartly choreographed (by Gerry McIntyre.) Accompanied by solo piano expertly played by Greg Jarrett (Danny Percefull at select performances), the five singers share honors for keeping twenty-three unrelated musical numbers from simply becoming numbing.
Blonde and perky soprano Mamie Parris gives the revue a lively start with two up-beat songs from the (nearly forgotten) Death Takes a Holiday and the grander Grand Hotel . Later on, she injects what passes for insinuation into "Call From the Vatican" from Nine . Unfortunately, too many of the songs in the show sound simply egregiously estranged from their source. A snappy narrative thread by the usually inventive Alessandrini was sorely missed and might have helped give the show some shape.
Alex Getlin gave us something to think about with the little known "Danglin'" and Strange," and added to the fun of "Halloween" along with Getlin and Parris. Benjamin Eakely delivered the lovely ballad "Love Can't Happen" (from Grand Hotel ) and the aria "Guido's Song" (from Nine ), although neither impact as they should. Justin Keys and Jovan E'Sean seemed to be having fun with the amusingly staged ditties "Salt ‘n Pepper," and "I Don't Want to Rock ‘n Roll."
Humor is in scant supply considering the serious themes and solemn subjects of the aforementioned shows. Ensemble numbers are given some enlivening moments and enhanced by the fanciful costumes designed by Melinda Hare. Individual numbers benefited from Jacob Zedek's expert lighting. Don't expect much in the way of the scenic, although designer James Morgan pays a sly homage to Radio City Music Hall.
It did take a while for the audience to catch on to "Feet" from a show called In The Beginning with its biblical illusion, but once they did, the number scored big. Speaking of big, the singing of "Godspeed, Titanic" for the finale was a rather strange choice. . . considering the ship sank. It was definitely not a whoopee way to end a show.
While no single performer stood out as a show-stopper or that any one number stood out for its particular brilliance, one is inclined to sit back and say to yourself either, "Oh, yes I remember that one," or "Did they really think this one would work?" I guess they did.
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Anything Can Happen in the Theater: The Musical World of Maury Yeston Conceived and Directed by Gerard Alessandrini
Cast: Benjamin Eakely, Jovan E'Sean, Alex Getlin, Justin Keyes, Mamie Parris Greg Jarrett (piano), Danny Perceful (piano, at select performances)
Set Design: James Morgan
Costume Design: Melinda Hare
Lighting Design: Jacob Zedek
Sound Design: Julian Evans
Production Stage Manager: Chris Steckel
Running Time: 75 minutes no intermission
Performance schedule: Tuesday and Wednesday at7:00 p.m., Thursday at 2:30 p.m., Friday at 8:00 p.m., Saturday at 2:30 p.m. & 8:00 p.m., and Sunday at 2:30 p.m. PLEASE NOTE: There are no Thursday evening performances. In addition, there no performance on Christmas Day, Wednesday, December 25. SPECIAL ADDED HOLIDAY PERFORMANCES: Christmas Eve Tuesday, December 24, 2019 at 4:00 p.m., and Friday afternoon, December 27, 2019at 2:30 p.m.
Tickets: $67.50-$72.50. Tickets may be purchased by calling(212) 935-5820, online at www.yorktheatre.org, or in person at the box office at the York Theatre at Saint Peter's (Citicorp Building, entrance on East 54thStreet, just east of Lexington Avenue), Monday through Friday (12:00 p.m.–6:00 p.m.).Senior Rush tickets are available in-person beginning one hour prior to performances for $20 cash only. Student tickets can be purchased anytime in advance at the box office during regular box office business hours. Limit one ticket per valid student ID and tickets are subject to availability. Student Rush tickets are $20.00 cash or credit. The York Theatre also offers $25 tickets for guests aged35 years and under. Groups of 10 or more, contact Great White Way at 212-757-9117, or GreatWhiteWay.com.
From 11/26/19 Opened 12/05/19 Ends 12/29/19
Review by Simon Saltzman based on performance 12/04/19
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