Justin Keyes, Greg Jarrett (rear), Mamie Parris, Benjamin Eakeley, Alex Getlin, Jovan E’Sean Photo by Carol Rosegg
I saw the original production of Anything Can Happen in the Theater: The Musical World of Maury Yeston at The Triad years ago. Returning to The York Theatre Company, as part of its 50th anniversary season, under the direction and conception of Gerard Alessandrini, Maury Yeston music comes alive like never before. Alessandrini leaves us wanting more, not less of this Tony Award-winning composer and lyricist despite the 23 compositions. Nine, Grand Hotel, and Titanic, as well as other shows such as his Phantom, (which was the first), leave us wanting to hear “This Place is Mine”, “Barrett’s Song (The screws are turning)” and “Let’s Raise a Glass”, all of which are on YouTube.
Jovan E’Sean, Alex Getlin, Benjamin Eakeley, Mamie Paris, and Justin Keyes bring Yeston’s “Anything Can Happen in the Theater” to life, as the stress of auditions is overcome by doing what you love. Each of the five ensemble members have a chance to shine.
For Mamie Paris it is “Shimmy Like They Do in Paree/ I Want to Go to Hollywood” and “Call from the Vatican”.
Benjamin Eakeley’s glorious and touching vocals on “New Words” and “Only with You”, will remind you of Claybourne Elder. This is the leading man Broadway has been looking for.
Sounding like Melissa Manchester, Alex Getlin’s renditions of “Danglin’” and Strange” are subtly profound.
Jovan E’Sean’s voice was hauntingly wistful on “I Had a Dream About You (December Song)” and “Mississippi Moon”. I would like to see more of this performer.
But it was the hilarious “Salt n’ Pepper,” with Justin Keyes abusing a wooden spoon, you will remember the most.
Gerry McIntyre’s choreography is brought out with “Feet”, “The Mardi Gras Ball”, “I Don’t Want to Rock ‘n’ Roll” and “Cinema Italiano”. Yeston’s energetic side is thrillingly revealed in these songs.
Music Director Greg Jarrett whose stylings on the piano show off his work with the duets filled with luscious harmonies on “No Women in the Bible” and “You’re There Too.” Here, Yeston’s lyrics take center stage.
James Morgan’s simplistic, yet effective set surrounds the stage with Yeston’s musical scores and manuscripts. Jacob Zedek lighting gives us mood as Melinda Hare set the story in costumes.
Anything Can Happen in the Theater: The Musical World of Maury Yeston is a singers delight and will make you crave a Youtube session to hear more of the brilliant Yeston’s craft. As for theatre goers this is a must see and one entertaining night, that will leave you sighing and fully satisfied.
Anything Can Happen in the Theater: The Musical World of Maury Yeston: The York Theatre Company, 619 Lexington Ave. until Dec. 29th.