Friday, June 3, 2011

The Best Is Yet To Come: The Music of Cy Coleman ***

31 songs in 85 minutes -- that's what this lively revue at 59E59 has to offer. A strong cast of six -- David Burnham (who is new to me), Sally Mayes, Howard McGillin, Billy Stritch (who also serves as pianist and music director), Lillias White and Rachel York, backed by eight musicians, provide a whirlwind tour of Coleman's music, including such well-known songs as "I've Got Your Number," "Big Spender" and "Witchcraft." Since David Zippel directed, it's no surprise that 8 of the songs chosen are songs for which he wrote the lyrics, which makes the selection somewhat unrepresentative. Douglas Schmidt's sleek recreation of a supper club bandstand looks great, but doesn't give the singers much room to move around. Lorin Lattaro's choreography makes the best of this limitation. The band was wonderful, but occasionally drowned out the vocalists. The highlight of the evening was Lillias White's rendition of her big number from The Life, "The Oldest Profession." Each of the singers gets a chance to shine, but no one else comes even close to her. Instead of being disappointed that it wasn't better, I'm grateful that it got produced.

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