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Cheek To Cheek: Irving Berlin In Hollywood at the York Theatre is Musical History, Tap and Songs That You Leave Humming

Cheek To Cheek: Irving Berlin In Hollywood at the York Theatre is Musical History, Tap and Songs That You Leave Humming

There may be trouble ahead
But while there’s moonlight
And music and love and romance
Let’s face the music and danceBefore the fiddlers have fled
Before they ask us to pay the bill
And while we still have the chance
Let’s face the music and danceSoon, we’ll be without the moon
Humming a different tune and then
There may be tear drops to shed
So while there’s moonlight
And music and love and romance
Let’s face the music and dance
Let’s face the music and danceSoon, we’ll be without the moon
Humming a different tune and then
There may be tear drops to shed
So while there’s moonlight
And music and love and romance
Let’s face the music and dance
Let’s face the music and dance

 Joseph Medeiros, Melanie Moore, Jeremy Benton, Kaitlyn Davidson, and Phillip Attmore iPhoto by Carol Rosegg

The world-premiere of Cheek To Cheek: Irving Berlin In Hollywood by the York Theatre Company is a delightful all -singing, all-dancing celebration of Irving Berlin and the songs he composed for the silver screen. Conceived, Choreographed, and Directed by Randy Skinner (42nd StreetDames at SeaIrving Berlin’s White ChristmasAin’t Broadway Grand) you get what exactly what you expect lots of fabulous tap and an enjoyable evening at the theatre.

Phillip Attmore, Melanie Moore, Kaitlyn Davidson, and Jeremy Benton. Photo by Carol Rosegg.

Barry Kleinbort (Book) and Skinner give us a glorious tribute to the legendary composer and lyricist that dazzles with songs you don’t always known and trivia galore. You are thrilled by Berlin’s silver screen melodies from 1927-65. He wrote an estimated 1,500 songs, including the scores for fifteen original Hollywood films. “Cheek to Cheek”, Now It Can Be Told.” “Change Partners,” “I Poured My Heart into a Song,” “You Keep Coming Back Like a Song,” and “Count Your Blessings”all earned Academy Award nominations. He won for “White Christmas” from Holiday Inn. He also won a Tony Award in 1951 for Best Score for the musical Call Me Madam and a special Tony Award in 1963. Through negotiations Berlin was the first composer to get top billing for the movies he scored.

Victoria Byrd, Joseph Medeiros Photo by Carol Rosegg.

The show features Phillip Attmore, Jeremy Benton, Victoria Byrd, Kaitlyn Davidson, Joseph Medeiros and Melanie Moore, who all but steals the show with her adorable eyes movements and lithe dancing. Kaitlyn Davidson delivers a song with the best of them. Her “Love, You Didn’t Do Right By Me” is soul wrenching. Attmore and Benton and shine in the tap dancing “My Walking Stick.” Benton and Moore shine as they guide effortlessly in “The Best Things Happen While You’re Dancing.”

Phillip Attmore, Melanie Moor Photo by Carol Rosegg

“Blue Skies,” and “Let Yourself Go” along with many lesser-known pieces from The Jazz Singer, Top HatAlexander’s Ragtime BandHoliday InnEaster Parade, and White Christmas are featured, but not the ones you expect.

Melanie Moore, Kaitlyn Davidson Photo by Carol Rosegg

A fact I did not know was Berlin created the dance crazes of the time and from that we got the energetic “The Piccolino,””The Yam” and “Back to Back”. Ohh to be young and dance.

Melanie Moore, Jeremy Benton Photo by Carol Rosegg

The show’s fabulous five-piece orchestra is led by music director David Hancock Turner on piano, Louis B. Crocco on drums/percussion, Noelle Rueschman and Amy Griffiths on reeds and Joseph Wallace on bass, who added to the syncopated rhythms. Kudos has to be given to vocal arranger and orchestrations by Fred Lassen, and dance arrangements by Rob Berman.

The scenic design by James Morgan, with projections by Brad Peterson brought forth images of Berlin’s, film posters, sheet music and those who made them famous like Al Jolson, Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye and gave us a grounding to the period. The lighting by Jason Kantrowitz and Ken Billington, sound by Julian Evans was also done extremely well.

The York has brought melody, entertainment and charmed with a brilliantly done homage to Irving Berlin. This is a gem of a show.

Cheek To Cheek: Irving Berlin In Hollywood: The Theatre at St. Jean’s, 150 East 76th Street, between Lexington and Third Avenue. Until January 2nd.

Music

Suzanna, co-owns and publishes the newspaper Times Square Chronicles or T2C. At one point a working actress, she has performed in numerous productions in film, TV, cabaret, opera and theatre. She has performed at The New Orleans Jazz festival, The United Nations and Carnegie Hall. She has a screenplay and a TV show in the works, which she developed with her mentor and friend the late Arthur Herzog. She is a proud member of the Drama Desk and the Outer Critics Circle and was a nominator. Email: suzanna@t2conline.com

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