By Linda Amiel Burns
ShaRell Productions brought their show Broadway Live!!! to Feinstein’s at the Loews Regency on Monday, August 29 for a one night only performance, and judging by the audience response, this show will be rebooked for a run. Sandi Durell, Producer and Shari Upbin, Producing Director, conceived this revue and over the last year or so polished it to perfection before bringing it to Feinstein’s and a NY audience. The elegant show room was SRO with many celebrities in attendance including Jake LaMotta, legendary composer Ervin Drake, Brent Barrett and Broadway Producer, Pat Addiss. They assemble a talented cast for Broadway Live!!! and all are Broadway veterans: Robert Cuccioli, Terry Burrell, and Christianne Tisdale. The Musical Director and arranger on Piano was Barry Levitt with Jon Burr was on bass.
Broadway Live!!! presents a loose history of the songs of the Great White Way spanning from Oklahoma to Jersey Boys. The show opened with the lively “Everything’s Coming Up Roses” as each cast member came on stage to sing a verse and introduce themselves. The first tribute was to composers Rodgers and Hammerstein with a duet of “The Surrey With the Fringe on Top” (Oklahoma) sung by Bob and Christine, then both female cast members sang “I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Out-a My Hair” (South Pacific), followed by one of the most romantic songs ever written “Some Enchanted Evening” from the same show. A highlight of the evening was the performers talking about their experiences on Broadway. Christianne Tisdale understudied Belle in Beauty and The Beast and got the part at the last minute with barely any rehearsal. She then sang the title song from the show.
She also demonstrated her comic abilities with “Adelaide’s Lament” (Guys & Dolls). Terry Burrell was in Dreamgirls and performed a rousing “One Night Only.” She also scored with a terrific jazz arrangement of “If I Were a Bell” (Guys & Dolls). Robert Cuccioli first played Javier in Les Miserables and was released from his contract when he won the leading role in Jekyll and Hyde. He played the show for four years and it made him a Broadway star. No one sings “This is the Moment” better, the song now associated with him. Bob also wowed the audience with his rich voice singing “The Music of the Night” from Phantom of the Opera.
No Broadway revue would be complete without including Stephen Sondheim and each performer sang a stirring ballad: Bob “Not A Day Goes By” (Follies), Terry “Children Will Listen (Into The Woods) and Christianne “Send in The Clowns” (A Little Night Music”). It was then time for some up tunes and the cast talked about the historic Hair and it’s a many revivals throughout the years. The audience joined in for the popular “Age of Aquarius/Let The Sun Shine In” as Bob wrapped his tie on his head in a “hippy” manner and played to the crowd. We were brought up to the present with a medley from the hit Jersey Boys, although the songs are from the 60’s. The finale was a fun Song-a-Minute Medley called “The Songs We Didn’t Have Time to Sing Tonight,” short phrases of many songs leading into the next.
In the heyday of nightclubs, there were many revues in show rooms all over the city. What could be better than listening to three terrific entertainers singing great songs from the musical theater? The cast members all had a warm rapport with each other and were able to joke and have fun on stage. Broadway Live!!! gave the audience their money’s worth and maybe Sharell Productions will bring their other revue Hollywood Live!!! to the Big Apple.
Photo: Maryann Lopinto
Christianne Tisdale, Robert Cuccioli, Barry Levitt, Terry Burrell
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