Broadway by the Year: The Musicals of 1956 and 1975

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Broadway by the Year 

The Musicals of 1956 and 1975

The Town Hall, NYC, May 21, 2018

Reviewed By Ron Forman for Cabaret Scenes

Douglas Ladnier

1956 and 1975 were years where Broadway had some of its most popular musical shows ever. Those that Scott Siegel had to pick songs from included My Fair Lady, The Most Happy Fella, Bells Are Ringing, A Chorus Line, and Chicago. Siegel chose the cream of the crop for this production. He has the unique ability to gather a cast of excellent singers and have them perform songs that are appropriate for their sound and style. His comments for this edition of his long-running series (18 years) were especially insightful and very funny.

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The show opened with two numbers from My Fair Lady with Kyle Selig’s voice rising nicely for “On the Street Were You Live” and, looking stunningly beautiful dressed in a white gown, Maxine Linehan delightfully performing “I Could Have Danced All Night.” She would return later dressed in black and in a different mood for a somber “The Only Home I Know” (Shenandoah). Douglas Ladnier’s (pictured) first number was a slowed down “Just in Time” and, returning next to closing with the highlight of a show filled with show-stopping numbers, with a movingly dramatic and soul searching “Cat’s in the Cradle” (used in The Night That Made America Famous). Lance Roberts did a very kinetic “Too Close for Comfort” (Mr. Wonderful) and would return in Act II for a lively “Gimme a Pigfoot” (used in Bessie and Me). Oakley Boycott stopped the show with her hilarious “Is It a Crime?

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,” which she had performed in a revival of Bells Are Ringing. Luke Grooms displayed his operatic voice closing the first act with “My Heart Is So Full of You” as Robert Weede performed it in the original production of The Most Happy Fella, unplugged (no microphone). He would return in Act II to hold the note for an incredible amount of time with “Johnny One Note.”

Joshua Israel opened Act II by dazzling the crowd with his tap dancing, while singing “I Can Do That.” He would dazzle again with “All I Care About.” Cheryl Freeman displayed her Drama Desk Award-winning skills on “Home” (The Wiz). Special guest Carolee Carmello performed “I’m Going Back” and “Nothing,” before leading the cast in the rousing closing number, “What I Did for Love.”

Ron Forman

Ron Forman has been a Mathematics Professor at Kingsborough Community College for 45 years. In that time, he has managed to branch out in many different areas. From 1977 to 1994 he was co-owner of Comics Unlimited, the third largest comic book distribution company in the USA. In 1999,after a lifetime of secretly wanting to do a radio program, he began his weekly Sweet Sounds program on WKRB 90.3 FM, dedicated to keeping the music of the Great American Songbook alive and accessible. This introduced him to the world of cabaret, which led to his position as a reviewer for Cabaret Scenes.