We are here to encourage the development of gifted young singers and to stimulate the growth of New York City's invaluable chamber opera companies. But we will not neglect the Metropolitan Opera either. Get ready for bouquets and brickbats.

Thursday, March 5, 2015


The Palookas: Chris Sullivan, Todd Gearhart, Matthew Saldivar, Drew Humphrey, and Michael Halling. 

It's been a few years since we enjoyed Seeing Stars, a highly entertaining musical comedy which delighted us with it's tuneful score by Don Breithaupt, it's clever lyrics by Jeff Breithaupt, and it's compelling book by Shelley McPherson.  We were thrilled to have the opportunity for a reprise last night at Birdland when a few songs from the show were presented as part of the Broadway at Birdland series.

An excellent cast was on hand to perform the songs with Jeff B. on hand to clue the audience in to the underlying story. It takes place in the 1930's and concerns a love triangle in which two prizefighters are vying for the attention of a woman sports writer.

The tuneful music was played by Don Breithaupt (piano); Pete McCann (guitar); Gregory Ryan (bass); Mark McLean (drums); and Michael Leonhart (trumpet and flugelhorn). The numbers performed by "The Palookas" were wildly entertaining and funny.  There was a cute romantic duet by Todd Gearhart and Nancy Anderson-- "Just Thought You Should Know" and a moving solo by Ms. A.--"In This Corner".  

The show has been worked on since we saw it and oh, how we would love to see it again.  Perhaps some Broadway producer will read this and want to hear more?  It could also work beautifully unamplified in a small theater. It's been a very long time since we heard anything outside the area of opera that so captured our ears!

There were lots more goodies onstage from The Breithaupt Brothers latest CD entitled "PassingThrough". The opening number "Maybe He Loves Me", sung by Heather Bambrick, left quite an impression on us, both because of the catchy tune, truthful lyrics and Ms. Bambrick's spot-on performance.

Shelley McPherson sang--and acted!--"He'll Have Another", the most hilarious enactment of a bibulous bimbo that we have yet to witness.

J'Sun used his expressive tenor in "Where Are They Now". Laila Biali accompanied herself on the piano in "Wonder Boy". Catherine Russell was moving in the bluesy "Between Me and My Heart".  The talented Marissa Mulder sang the touching "Missing Me" accompanied by a droning bass line in the piano and bass, a most interesting arrangement.

Peter Eldridge sang "Any Day Now" and a there were yet further contributions from Carolyn and Jamie Leonhart and yes, they are all related.  In a final family affair, our song-writing brothers performed "Bad Influence", a comic number filled with delightful ironies.

So, if you care to extend your ears beyond opera, we heartily recommend the CD..."Just Passing Through". Trust us!  Good cabaret is a far better thing than bad opera.  It just goes to show that there are only two kinds of music:  good music and bad music.  We do so wish that contemporary opera composers could write good melodies and meaningful lyrics.  Why not?  Let us know if you agree.

(c) meche kroop

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