By: Iris Wiener
August 22, 2021: When Orfeh and Andy Karl performed a magnetic set at Calissa in Water Mill’s Broadway Out East series on Thursday night, it was so dynamic that it even held off the downpour in the forecast, much to the delight of the captivated audience. The married pair, well-known for having shared the stage in three Broadway musicals (Saturday Night Fever, Legally Blonde and Pretty Woman), have made a fine-art out of creating interwoven medleys that showcase their divine talents. The airy Greek eatery was a fine place to remind Long Islanders that theater is back and better than ever.
Accompanied by long-time musical director Steven Jamail, the performers began their set with a rousing rendition of “You’re All I Need to Get By,” segueing into “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” and “Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now.” With his solo, back-up singer Tim Kodres proved that there truly is no mountain high enough to contain his powerhouse vocals.
“In case you haven’t noticed, we stop the rain,” said Orfeh to the crowd dining on Greek fare at Calissa, which has been likened to Mykonos in the Hamptons. “We have a lot of history together,” continued Karl, as they launched into One Direction’s “You and Me Got a Whole Lot of History.” What a history it is! They shared some of it by belting special numbers from Pretty Woman, including “Freedom,” an especially poignant song when delivered by Karl’s brilliant vocals, and “Rodeo Drive,” Orfeh’s show-stopping, get-on-your-feet anthem. Orfeh and Karl even managed to mash-up work from early off-Broadway projects The Great American Trailer Park Musical and Hunka Hunka Burnin’ Love, respectively.
The energy soared when back-ups Kodres and Nikki Kimbrough were given the mic for a spin, and proceeded to make Elton John proud. Kodres’ rendition “I’m Still Standing” showed incredible range, while Manhattan could surely hear Kimbrough’s enormous belt with “Your Song.”
Orfeh and Karl wore their hearts, humility and fun personalities on their sleeves when they spontaneously took on “Straight Up,” which should certainly be added to their repertoire. The joy in their craft poured from their souls as they had the audience singing along. Of course, they also shared their viral hit medley “Yesterday/Time After Time/Shallow,” originally recorded in their bedroom and now a brilliant nod to humanity’s survival. Their now cabaret-staple should be the opening act of a master class for any new performers. Karl’s deep voice caresses his audience while Orfeh’s folds into his, her throaty, R&B sound simultaneously reverberating in her listeners’ bones.
Though more medleys continued to make for a jovial, well-rounded set, their finale, an acapella version of Leon Russell’s “Song for You,” caps off the evening in unforgettable fashion. Arranged thoughtfully and precisely, the touching song might be for one another, but the duo was clearly sharing a sensationally heartfelt moment with those lucky enough to be in the presence of such infectious beauty.
For more information about Calissa and its ongoing entertainment, including the Broadway Out East series and Calissa Sounds, visit https://www.calissahamptons.com/.