Broadway Unplugged

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Broadway Unplugged

Merkin Concert Hall, NYC, October 13, 2018

Reviewed by Ron Forman for Cabaret Scenes

Chuck Cooper

Once upon a time long ago (before 1964), when you went to see a Broadway show you heard the actual singing voices of the performers. Once a year, Scott Siegel brings back those glorious days of yesteryear with his Broadway Unplugged show, featuring great singers who have the ability to be heard in a concert hall without the aid of a microphone.

Siegel introduced the show with a brief informative and interesting history of the use of  microphones on Broadway. Farah Alvin opened the show, clearly displaying why no microphone was needed, with her rousing “Don’t Rain on My Parade.” Klea Blackhurst told a funny story about nine-year-old Mel Brooks, hearing Ethel Merman with his dad and both saying “She sings too loud,” before her very Mermanish “Anything Goes.” Michael Winther followed with “What Kind of Fool Am I.” He and Blackhurst would return for a delightful duet of “You’re Just in Love.

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” Kelli Barrett displayed a lovely soprano with “Not a Day Goes By” and a very moving “I Dreamed a Dream.” Brian Charles Rooney performed “I’m a Stranger Here Myself” in a feminine voice and then did “Bring Him Home” in a big, bold voice. Lisa Howard hit some remarkably high notes in her performance of “Children of the Wind.

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” She then sang  “I Have Found” from Infinite Joy which, like this show, was performed in Merkin. Jillian Louis’ facial expressions and movements made her a joy to watch while she performed “They Can’t Take That Away from Me” and “Maybe This Time.
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” Chuck Cooper (pictured) brought the house down with his uproariously funny “Your Feet’s Too Big.” Aaron Ramey brought back memories of John Raitt and Gordon MacRae with his truly masterful “Soliloquy.” Tenor John Easterlin’s spectacular operatic voice stopped the show twice with his thrilling “And This Is My Beloved” and, next to closing, “Without a Song.” The Broadway By the Year Chorus began “Lullaby of Broadway” and were then joined by the entire cast to close this vastly entertaining production.

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.