Donna McKechnie has been singing the lyrics of Stephen Sondheim on stage since playing Phila on the tour of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum on tour in 1963. She sang I’m Lovely then and when she sings it now she still looks and sounds that way almost 60 years later. She says that Mr. Sondheim has written “lyrics to live by” and Ms. McKechnie tells stories of a life well lived. There are few entertainers that have had a career like Ms. McKechnie and when she “name drops” as she promises/threatens she will her stories makes us enthralled with every word.
Many performers can sing the songs of Mr. Sondheim; but, because of the intimate and close relationship she had with the composer, only Ms. McKechnie can sing the songs of “Steve,” as she felt comfortable calling him. The night includes a wonderful rendition of Anyone Can Whistle, which she tells us was Mr. Sondheim’s personal favorite and a thrilling “There Won’t Be Trumpets” which was cut from the same musical in previews. Sondheim fans, of which there were many in the audience, were thrilled when she opened the evening singing “I’ve Got You to Lean On” again from that show and of course when Donna asked the audience who the show was written for they all knew Lee Remick.
You don’t have to be a “Sondheimophile” to enjoy this show. You just need to sit back, enjoy the music sung with a beautiful voice by a woman who can spin a tale with glamorous, yet down to earth, stage presence. That’s what you get when she talks about choreographing an elaborate dance for Angela Lansbury in a 1973 musical tribute to Sondheim in London. (After watching Donna demonstrate the number, Angela politely informed her she would forgo the choreography and just stand and sing.) The names dropped in that story were a history of stars including Larry Blyden, Pam Meyers and Chita Rivera.
Ms. McKechnie at this show is accompanied by a terrific band that totally allows her to take center stage. Ian Herman her musical director and piano accompanist laughs with her as she occasionally loses her place (which makes this star even more lovable); Ray Marchica on drums and Ray Kilday on bass.
Of course Ms. McKechnie was in Company where she played Kathy – one of the trio that complains that Bobby “…Could Drive a Person Crazy.” She nearly welled up in tears when she talked about Dean Jones who left the cast early as he was privately going through a divorce. Going through a divorce while starring in a show about marriage was tough she explains and it was a cathartic experience when the original cast reunited in a one night only concert years later.
The evening was full of wonderful stories but her choice of songs were just perfect. And she was able to include the dialogue of the shows before the songs. Sally Durant, her dream role, she tells us, came to life with the prologue to “Don’t Look at Me.” It’s amazing to learn that she played Phyllis in “Follies” to raves from Mr. Sondheim in London but days later she found out that he preferred her to play Sally at the Paper Mill Playhouse. In addition to “Don’t Look at Me” Donna includes “Too Many Mornings” and a heartbreaking “Losing My Mind.” (I guess Bobby in a totally different musical did drive her crazy.) The most interesting number she sang from Follies was her choice to sing “The Road You Didn’t Take,” a song sung by one of the male leads. I loved this choice as it shows how the world has changed. In 1971, when Follies was written, a woman did not have that many roads to take; but, in 2022 it would be quite appropriate for a woman to look back at her life and wonder about her decisions.
Donna has so many wonderful stories included in this show and she can look back at the road she did take and the audience is glad that she chose correctly. The “lyrics to live by” sung by this wonderful songstress makes the audience grateful for “Being Alive.”
Donna McKechnie: Take Me To The World – The Songs of Stephen Sondheim: Feinstein’s/ 54 Below June 2 – 4, 2022.
My View: Barrington Stage Co. on 42nd Street Oct. 30 For Its Gala at Green Room 42
The evening of cocktails, dinner, and cabaret show headlined by Billy Stritch celebrates the inaugural season of newly appointed Artistic Director Alan Paul and Managing Director Lynsey Shade.
Proceeds from the Gala will benefit the Julianne Boyd New Works Fund.
Mary Ann and Bruno Quinson are presenting the event which is sponsored in part by Rhoda Levitt. Eda Sorokoff is Chair with Violet Eagan & Rosita Sarnoff Co-Chairs
Since its inception in 1995, Barrington Stage (BSC) has produced 41 new works, 21 of which have moved on to New York and major regional theatres around the country.
BSC believes that new work is the heart and soul of theatre. If theatre is to thrive and create meaningful and new experiences for audiences, then it is vital to support playwrights and their visions of the world we live in.
BSC’s New Works Fund takes a two-pronged approach – PlayWorks supports the creation of new plays while our acclaimed Musical Theatre Lab develops new musicals. In both of these programs, BSC seeks artists whose unique voices speak to our audiences with relevant new plays and musicals. BSC hopes our new work will ask questions of the world we live in – questions that may not have answers but will begin a dialogue between the artists and our audiences.
Cabaret, Talks and Concerts For October
The question would be, what to pick to go see, out of the multitude of offerings. Here are our picks for October
92 Street Y: 1395 Lexington Ave. 10/1: Dr. Jane Goodall in Conversation with David Rubenstein; 10/4: Fashion Icons with Fern Mallis: Martha Stewart; 10/9: “Gutenberg! The Musical!”: Josh Gad and Andrew Rannells in Conversation with MTV’s Josh Horowitz; 10/10: Arnold Schwarzenegger in Conversation: BE USEFUL: Seven Tools for Life; 10/12: Audra McDonald: Musings through Music with Andy Einhorn and 10/28 – 30: Tale as Old as Time: The Songs of Howard Ashman
Birdland Jazz: 315 West 44 St. Every Monday at 9:30pm Jim Caruso’s Cast Party; Every Tuesday at 8:30pm The Lineup with Susie Mosher; Every Saturday at 7pm Eric Comstock with Sean Smith (Bass) & special guest Barbara Fasano (Voice); 10/2: A Collective Cy Jeff Harner sings Cy Coleman; 10/9: The Unprecedented Amanda Green & Friends; 10/16: Maude Maggart: “Here Come The Dreamers” and 10/23: Jamie deRoy and Friends and 10/26 -28: Karrin Allyson: “Brazilian Nights And Beyond” Feat. Vitor Goncalves, Rafael Barata & Harvie S.
Carnegie Hall: 881 7th Ave at 57th St. 10/2: Lyle Lovett and His Large Band; 10/18: A Very Good+ Night of Comedy with Jerry Seinfeld, Kevin Hart, Jim Gaffigan, Amy Schumer & Ronny Chieng
Special Guest D-Nice and 10/27: The New York Pops with Hailey Kilgore, Derek Klena, Javier Muñoz and Ali Stroker
Chelsea Table + Stage: Hilton Fashion District Hotel, 152 W 26th St. 10/20: Marieann Meringolo
Don’t Tell Mama: 343 W. 46 St. 10/28: Quinn Lemley
The DJango: 2 Avenue of the Americas.
54 Below: 254 West 54 St. 10/2 The New York Pops Underground; 10/2, 17, 28 and 30: Norbert Leo Butz Sings Torch Songs for a Pandemic; 10/3, 7 and 11 Linda Eder; 10/5 -6 Mauricio Martínez: 5’11” Based in NYC, feat. Linedy Genao & more!; 10/8: Little By Little Reunion Concert, feat. Darrin Baker, Liz Larsen, and Christiane Noll; 10/12: Lee Roy Reams: Uncensored! For Adults Only!’ 10/14 -16 and 23 -25 and 30: Marilyn Maye; 10/20 – 21: Lorna Luft; 10/22: A Gentleman’s Guide 10th Anniversary Celebration and 10/ 26 -28: Jai Rodriguez: A Thousand Sweet Kisses
Sony Hall: 235 W. 46th St. 10/4:Daniel Nardicio presents Witch Perfect An all live-singing parody of Disney’s Hocus Pocus feat. Emmy-winning stars from RuPaul’s Drag Race: Scarlet Envy, Tina Burner & Alexis Michelle and 10/16: Rockers on Broadway 30th Anniversary
Theatre at the West Bank Café: 407 West 42 St. 10/14 and 28: Mark Nadler – CRAZY
The Town Hall: 123 West 43rd Street. 10/10: A Not That Fancy Conversation and Performance with Reba Mcentire and 10/11: Alec Baldwin’s Here’s The Thing Live With Michael Wolff
Santino Fontana Brings Voice, Comedy and Showmanship To 54 Below
Tony Award® winner Santino Fontana brings his tremendous talent to 54 Below and it is a show that wraps you up in his humor, charm, vocal prowess, laid back demeanor, jeopardy style musical choices and over all entertaining. By the end of the show you feel as if you know him or at least a part of him. Starting off with Charles Strouse and Lee Adams’s “Stick Around,” the night turned into a Russian roulette of material. The audience picked numbers and as Santino put it “if you don’t like the show, it’s your fault.” First up for my show was the naughty but amusing “Making Love Alone” followed by Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella‘s “Do I Love You,” which made for an amusing combination of songs. During Cinderella Mr. Fontana had shoes that were built up 2 inches inside and 2 inches outside, which cause a tremendous amount of pain, so the song told the story of his plight, which made the song take on a much different meaning. Sondheim’s “Anyone Can Whistle,” was sung for a Carol Burnett tribute, that luckily we were treated to.
His guest for the evening was Sarah Steele (“The Good Wife,” The Humans, The Country House) who sang “out There On My Own” from Fame. On the 14th it will be Greg Hildreth (Company, Disney’s Frozen, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella). Click on the name and you can hear that version.
Showing off his baritone side with Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “If I Loved You.” We almost got to see Santino in Cy Coleman and Dorothy Fields”s Sweet Charity, instead we got hint of what that would be like with “Too Many Tomorrows.” A hilarious version of “I feel Pretty” from West Side Story lightened the mood and had the room in tears. Recreating his duet “Love Is An Open Door” from Frozen, Santino channeled Dorothy Michaels from Tootsie. Again the room was laughing with the sheer comedic genius that won Mr. Fontana a Tony Award. Bringing the energy to a calmer state was the emotional Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley’s “Who Can I Turn To?”
Vocally the most impressive song of the night was “Joey, Joey, Joey” from Most Happy Fellow. Mr. Fontana’s voice was glorious in the tones and the subtle texturing. Keeping in the ballad mode and honoring Marilyn Bergman he launched into the iconic “Where Do You Start,”while accompany himself on the piano, which was highly impressive. Back to the uptempo mode “I Met A Girl” from Bells Are Ringing, was given a rigorous, amusing take. This was his original audition song. Lerner and Loewe’s “How to Handle a Woman,” from the recent Camelot, showed how Santino would have made an excellent King Arthur.
Another favorite moment of the night was “Buddy’s Blues” from Follies. Already a personal favorite, this made me want to see Santino play this role at a later date, though personally I would cast him as Ben.
For the finale songs “The Music In You” from Cinderella, told how he and the cast loved watching the magnificent Victoria Clark perform. “This Can’t Be Love” from 1938 Rodgers and Hart musical The Boys from Syracuse, ended up in an encore, of Harvey Schmidt and Tom Jones’s “They Were You” from The Fantasticks, which made my guest producer Pat Addiss extremely happy.
Santino was backed by his musical director and accompanist Cody Owen Stine, who played flawlessly.
Santino Fontana opened September 10th at 54 Below and you can still catch this marvelous show tonight September 14th. 54below.com
This is a do not miss!
Talking With Mauricio Martínez About His New Show 5’11, Based in NYC and More
I met Emmy Award winner Mauricio Martínez when he was performing in Children of Salt and have watched him ever since. He then became known for the Broadway musical On Your Feet!, but before that he appeared in the Emmy Winning TV Show El Vato NBC, the hit Señora Acero Telemundo and several Mexican telenovela. T2C talked to this prolific actor/ singer to learn more.
His new show at 54 Below talks about all the self-tape sides filling up his Dropbox. In his new show, 5’11, Based in NYC, Mauricio is putting those to good use in a musical “What If…,” sorting through what might have been. Pushing aside the ring light, you will lean more about this uber talented Mexican American.
His show on October 5 and 6 at 7pm is at 54 Below. The show feature Linedy Genao (Bad Cinderella, On Your Feet!) and Alexis Michelle (“RuPaul’s Drag Race”) and is written by Mauricio Martínez & Robbie Rozelle, with musical direction and arrangements by Brian J. Nash. Directed by Robbie Rozelle.
Video by Magda Katz
Ken Fallin’s Broadway: Linda Purl Not Just An Actress
Last night Linda Purl took the audience at The Green Room 42 on a magical journey.
In 2020 Linda Purl starred as Ryan Spahn mother in Vivian Neuwirth’s Mr. Toole at 59E59 Theaters.
Ms Purl just released her fourth album of standards, This Could Be the Start. If the CD is anything like the concert this s a must have,
Events For October
Ken Fallin’s Broadway: Musical Director Ian Niederhoffer
New York Film Festival to Host Cinephile Game Night
Romantic and Meaningful Love Quotes For Her To Help Win Her Heart
How to Take Advantage of Virtual Numbers for SMS
Entre Institute Review – Is Jeff Lerner’s Program a Scam?
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Barry Manilow’s and Bruce Sussman’s Harmony Meets The Press
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Barry Manilow’s and Bruce Sussman’s Harmony Meets The Press Part 2
Entertainment3 days ago
The Mayor of Times Square Interviews Billionaire John Catsimatidis on The Motivation Show Podcast
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Theatre News: Here We Are, Some Like It Hot, A Beautiful Noise, All The Devils Are Here: How Shakespeare Invented The Villain and The Laramie Project
Food and Drink4 days ago
Ubah Hassan and Serafina Launch the Sizzling Hot Pizza of the Season
Cabaret3 days ago
My View: Barrington Stage Co. on 42nd Street Oct. 30 For Its Gala at Green Room 42
Off Broadway3 days ago
Meet Michel Wallerstein and Spencer Aste of Chasing Happy
Celebrity4 days ago
The Glorious Corner