Roger Schmelzer

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Roger Schmelzer

Arts Club of Washington, Washington, DC, March 29, 2024

Reviewed by Michael Miyazaki

(L-R) Jeffrey D. Harris and Roger Schmelzer
Photo: Courtesy of Capital Cabaret, Inc.

Roger Schmelzer, as part of the National Capital Cabaret Festival, had a “wonderful” opening number. He made his entrance as he walked through the house singing a medley of “On a Wonderful Day Like Today,” “‘S Wonderful,” and “It’s a Most Unusual Day,” accompanied by Jeffrey D. Harris at the piano. Dressed elegantly in a double-breasted suit, he explained his commitment to the American Songbook, which he defined as songs that have stood a half-century test of time. He then explored themes in the Songbook’s repertory.

We got a swinging “world” view with a medley of “We’ve Got a World That Swings,” “I’ve Got the Sun in the Morning and the Moon at Night,” and “I’ve Got the World on a String.” Schmelzer explored the important musical contribution of his home state, Indiana, by saluting Cole Porter with “I Concentrate on You” and “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” and Hoagy Carmichael with “The Nearness of You” (lyric by Ned Washington) and “Heart and Soul” (lyric by Frank Loesser). He offered a touching tribute to the musical influence he received from his father with the haunting “If I Sing” (Maltby & Shire). Charmingly, he provided relationship counsel, advising that a combination of “Just in Time” and “I Love You Today” will seal the deal for any courtship.

The highlight of the show was Edward Kleban’s “Better,” a witty catalog of the roller coaster ride of life’s vicissitudes. The final medley of “Circle,” “What a Wonderful World,” and “If I Ruled the World” provided a lovely message to close the evening.

Michael Miyazaki

Michael Miyazaki is a Washington DC/Baltimore area-based performer, director, and writer. He has performed at various venues in the DC area, and his most recent show is Thanks for the Memories: The Musical Legacy of Bob Hope. He has appeared with numerous local theater troupes including Scena Theatre, the Source Theatre, and Fraudulent Productions. He has attended the Perry-Mansfield Cabaret Workshop (working with master teachers Andrea Marcovicci, Karen Mason, Barry Kleinbort, Christopher Denny, Shelly Markham, and David Gaines), and has also studied under Sally Mayes, Tex Arnold, Lina Koutrakos, Rick Jensen, Amanda McBroom, and Alex Rybeck. He is the creator of the blog The Miyazaki Cabaret Update: DC & Beyond (currently on hiatus) and is a member of the DC Cabaret Network and the Arts Club of Washington.