Broadway By the Year: 1965 and 1978

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Broadway By the Year: 1965 and 1978

The Town Hall, NYC, May 20, 2019

Reviewed by Ron Forman for Cabaret Scenes

Corbin Bleu

This edition of Scott Siegel’s long running (19 years) Broadway By the Year series at The Town Hall featured as wonderful a cast of vocalists and dancers as any of the more than 30 editions of the series that I have attended. The singers were matched perfectly to the songs they performed, and in almost every case, each performed the song brilliantly.
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This edition covered the Broadway musicals of 1965 and 1978. As always, Siegel’s often funny, always interesting and informative comments moved the show nicely from one number to the next.

He remarked that the songs chosen from 1965 are better remembered than the disappointing-at-the-box-office shows from which they originated. Ethan Slater opened the show with a rousing “On a Wonderful Day Like Today” (The Roar of The Greasepaint—The Smell of the Crowd). There would be three more songs from that Anthony Newley/Leslie Bricusse musical, including an especially moving “Who Can I Turn To” by Rick Faugno. Lianne Marie Dobbs dramatically performed “He (She) Touched Me” (Drat! The Cat!) and then, even more dramatically, reprised a scene from Man of La Mancha, singing “It’s All the Same” backed by Jake Owen on guitar as the Broadway By the Year Dancers surrounded her. The wonderful jazz vocalist Nicole Henry’s facial expressions added to the impact of “Why Did I Choose You” (The Yearling); her performance also produced laughter when she walked over to Siegel and sang directly to him. Corbin Bleu (pictured), who stops the show nightly in the current revival of Kiss Me, Kate, stopped this show with his singing and spectacular dancing in “Everybody Has the Right to Be Wrong.” (Skyscraper). Betsy Wolfe showed off her lovely soprano on “A Quiet Thing.” (Flora the Red Menace). Act I closed with Danny Gardner singing and leading the dance troupe on “Nothing Can Stop Me Now.
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Act II opened with Henry sexily singing the first of three songs from Ain’t Misbehavin’, the biggest hit show of 1978. She also sang a very poignant “Mean to Me.” Dobbs did a lively, very kinetic “Keepin’ Out of Mischief Now.” Douglas Ladnier’s booming baritone thrilled with his performance of “Stranger in Paradise.” (Timbuktu). Faugno, who displayed an especially pleasing voice in Act I, put on his dancing shoes and kept up with Bleu for another spectacular dance number “Sing Sing Sing.” (Dancing). Next to closing, choreographer Gardner showed that he can also sing wonderfully, leading the dance troupe with his voice and feet to “I Wanna Be a Dancing Man” (Dancing). The show returned to 1965 for the closing number as Ladnier thrilled again with a very stirring “The Impossible Dream.”

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.