It was yet another dark and stormy evening on June 21 when Beari Productions presented The Best of Magical, Musical Moments in the gymnasium of Trinity Lutheran Church in Middle Village. Rollicking, beautifully put together and performed by a troupe of brilliantly talented singers, the revue of 38 of Bearis best loved and most-often-requested songs made the audience forget how miserably soggy they were.
Director Debbie Bendana opened the evening with Welcome to the Theater, followed by Naomi Zeitlin, a woman with a gleaming smile like the rest of the cast, she seemed utterly happy to be on stage that ghastly night and powerful soprano voice who sang a wistful version of Baubles, Bangles and Beads. She was followed by Jimmy ONeill, a fresh-faced tenor who recalled the callow youth in all those Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers movies, who sang Stranger in Paradise.
The songs came mostly from the musical theater and the movies, but there was a smattering of top 40 hits the companys version of Three Dog Nights Joy to the World, and Old Time Rock and Roll proved they could rock out when necessary, even in tuxedos, evening dresses, high heels and serious jewelry.
Alison Schwab, who specialized in tender ballads that evening, sang a poignant version of Gershwins Someone to Watch Over Me. Later in the program she sang My Heart Will Go On, in a way that made the song not only bearable, which its not whenever Celine Dion sings it, but moving and lovely. For the first time since the wretched song came out I found myself humming the tune on my way home, and that says a great deal.
Jean Ann Kump performed with great zest, sexiness and a flair for comedy. She wore an especially fabulous gown (with a fishtail train) and chandelier earrings; not surprisingly, she sang I Get a Kick Out of You and other saucy, sophisticated numbers.
Barri Feuers rendition of I Will Always Love You, was a show stopper she gave Whitney a run for her money with her glorious, ringing soprano. Cas Marino came on with Younger Than Springtime while Ron Caveglia sang a lush and nostalgia-inducing Some Enchanted Evening.
Schwab belted out Honey Bun, backed by all the guys and wearing sailor hats. The number was hilarious, especially when co-producer Rene Bendana came on wearing a coconut bra, a mop wig and a grass skirt as the eponymous personage.
Logically, after this number, the guys launched into There is Nothing Like a Dame, and just before intermission the company did a spirited Be Our Guest, with Richard Weyhausen as a fussy French Maitre D.
The second act opened with the company singing Sit Down Youre Rocking the Boat, from Guys and Dolls. Feuer and Marino sang I Have Dreamed while clasping hands they looked too cute together. The girls, with Kump in a gold lamé jacket this time, bounced through a joyous version of Its Raining Men, to be joined near the end of the number by the guys. (Red-haired Don Gormanly had the goofy energy of Chris Farley, as well as a beautiful voice hed earlier put to great use in Meditation.)
Later, Weyhausen came out in full Phantom of the Opera gear, including swirling satin cape and half-mask, and did Music of the Night, and Feuer and Gormanly sang a touching, All I Ask of You.
Debbie Bendanas version of Everythings Coming Up Roses, lacked the fury and scariness with which the song is usually sung, appropriately. Instead, she was exuded maternal cheer and optimism, while Zeitlin infused I Dreamed a Dream, with sad defiance. ONeill sang a rapturous version of Maria from West Side Story and Feuer, Marino, ONeill, Weyhausen and Zeitlin followed with Tonight. Their performance emphasized the cross currents of young love and murder that are the themes of a Jerome Robbins musical. The evening ended too soon with the company singing One from A Chorus Line, doffing gold spangled hats.
Bendanas direction was crisp and the transitions between songs was seamless. The elegant set design was made of pale yellow watered silk curtains hung with posters for the show and black musical notes. Kudos also to the technical crew, whose lighting, from what seemed to be a single focused luminaire, was as good and sharp as anything found on Broadway.
Catch the remaining performances of The Best of Magical, Musical Moments at Trinity Lutheran Church, 63-70 Dry Harbor Rd., at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and at 4 p.m. Sunday. Call 718-736-1263 for tickets.
©2003 Community News Group
By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:
You agree that you, and not TimesLedger.com or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to TimesLedger.com the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.