|Gary Slavin, Matt Hughes, Alexis Cregger, David Macaluso, Leslie Middlebrook, and Claire Kuttler|
The bubbles in the champagne matched well with the effervescent performances onstage last night at The Players, when Light Opera of New York (known as LOONY) presented an evening of operetta and cabaret songs called "Drink! Drink! Drink". We sipped some bubbly but we gulped down the deliriously delicious entertainment.
Good music doesn't have to be "serious" and we enjoyed the humorous songs as much as the torch songs. All the voices were top notch and there was no amplification to assault our tender ears.
Most of the songs were about drinking or sung by characters who were "in their cups". The wisely chosen hostess was Leslie Middlebrook appearing as Count Orlofsky from Johann Strauss' Die Fledermaus, singing "Chacun à son goût" in a clever English translation. It was a fine concept and well executed by this excellent performer.
The most operatic number on the program was "Libiamo" from Verdi's La Traviata, perfectly performed by Alexis Cregger and Matt Hughes.
The most philosophical number was a very heartfelt "If Love Were All" by Noel Coward, performed with depth by Claire Kuttler who also sang Strayhorn's "Lush Life", a tale of profound disappointment. The songs fit her voice and stage presence to a T.
The liveliest number was Strauss' "Czardas" performed with Hungarian style by Ms. Cregger. The most bibulous was her performance of "Ah, quel diner je vais de faire" from Jacques Offenbach's "La Périchole". She was hilarious and we understood every word of her intoxicated French.
The most humorous songs landed on Gary Slavin's broad shoulders. We loved the sardonic "Mrs. Lowsborough-Goodby" by Cole Porter and also his performance of Buffett's "Margaritaville" which had the audience singing along, although not a shaker of salt was to be found on any table. Mr. Slavin also staged the show, although the concept originated with Producer Carol Davis.
We recently saw (on HD video) the Metropolitan Opera's production of Lehar's "The Merry Widow". David Macaluso's performance of Danilo's aria "I'm going to Maxim's" far exceeded the one on video; he put so much personality into the song!
Matt Hughes managed a difficult task, performing a gender bending version of the ironic "You Can Always Count on Me" by Cy Coleman; it was funny just because he played it straight without fuss. The audience loved it and so did we!
Music Director Seth Weinstein accompanied all on the piano and did a swell job of it.
We always enjoy LOONY and eagerly await news of their upcoming season; it's their Tenth Anniversary! YAY!!!! More champagne please!
(c) meche kroop