Carole Demas & Sarah Rice: Thank You for Your Love

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Carole Demas & Sarah Rice

Thank You for Your Love

Laurie Beechman Theatre, NYC, June 24, 2017

Reviewed by Marilyn Lester for Cabaret Scenes

Carole Demas (L) & Sarah Rice

When is a love-fest not a good thing? Probably never—and, in this case, the love on display was a really wonderful thing, expressed in a truly memorable enterprise, conceived and executed by Broadway veterans Carole Demas (the original Sandy in Grease) and Sarah Rice (the original Johanna in Sweeney Todd). This high-powered performing duo came together to joyously celebrate the music of Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt, songwriters of The Fantasticks, 110 in the Shade, I Do! I Do! and more. Demas and Rice not only both played Luisa in The Fantasticks, but have personal relationships with Jones and Schmidt, as well as with each other. In fact, the logo for Thank You for Your Love was designed by Schmidt, who is also a graphic artist and who designed the logo for The Fantasticks. The zero degrees of separation at work in Thank You for Your Love yielded a show more a production than a cabaret evening, expertly directed by veteran Charles Repole and benefiting from the award-winning lighting and sound design of Stuart J. Allyn. Chock full of enthralling reminiscence, song and surprises, the evening included an appearance by Mr. Jones himself, who took the mic to speak with charm, humor, and a high lovability quotient.

At the top of Thank You for Your Love, replicating the piano-harp combo of The Fantasticks, Musical Director/composer/pianist and vocalist Joe Goodrich, with harpist Maria Banks, played the spirited overture from that show. And where there might have been a temptation to endlessly mine the familiarity of The Fantasticks, wisely, the repertoire included many lovely songs from the entire Schmidt/Jones canon. Following directly from the overture, the trio of Goodrich, Demas and Rice, with perfectly blended voices, delivered the charming “Everything Beautiful Happens at Night” (110 in the Shade). The three also scored with a prescient “Not My Problem” from 1969’s Celebration, as well as the comic “Feed ‘Em Grits” (Time Staggers On). Demas, a master of interpretation and storytelling, performed numbers with clear, sure voice, including “Joy” (Colette Collage) and “I Love His Face” (Philemon). Rice, with a voice as capable at classic opera as well as popular numbers, showed comic chops with “Autumn at the Automat” (from Demi-Dozen, a nightclub revue for which they were among the contributing songwriters) and a sensitive “Old Maid” (110 in the Shade).

The various vocal combinations in Thank You For Your Love were well-paced and well-conceived, adding variety and flow to the show. Duets between Demas and Goodrich—“I’m Glad to See (You’ve Got What You Want)”/Celebration, and Demas and Rice (“I Can See It”/The Fantasticks) were resplendent in tonal quality and personal chemistry. The duet of “Soon It’s Gonna Rain” (The Fantasticks) between Rice and Goodrich was made that much more special by the appearance of Hal Robinson (Rice’s first El Gallo) who recited the “Glen Speech” (“You wonder how these things begin…”) with conviction, as he’d done many a year ago. Ending an evening of love, tribute, nostalgia and most of all, superb, relevant and ageless entertainment, was the eponymous “Thank You for Your Love,” sung by Goodrich, Demas, and Rice, which folded seamlessly into “My Cup Runneth Over” (I Do! I Do!). The closer, “Try to Remember” (The Fantasticks) was sung warmly and wistfully by the trio.

Thank You for Your Love is a show that’s more than the sum of its wonderful parts. It’s an evening’s entertainment that should move on to bring joy to a wider audience in the world at large.

Marilyn Lester

Marilyn Lester left journalism and commercial writing behind nearly two decades ago to write plays. That branch in the road led to screenwriting, script-doctoring, dramaturgy and producing for the stage. Marilyn has also co-authored, as well as edited, books. It seemed the only world of words she hadn’t conquered was criticism, an opportunity that presented itself via Theater Pizzazz. Marilyn has since sought to widen her scope in this form of writing she especially relishes. Marilyn is a member of the Authors Guild, Dramatists Guild, Women in the Arts and Media and The League of Professional Theater Women.