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, December 8, 2016


Musical Director Shane Schag, Marie Stumpf, Shengquan Jin, Montana York, Raquel Nobile, Juliana Levinson, Victoria Policht, Sam Krivda, Allison Porter, and Luke Sikora

What an entertaining evening we enjoyed at Manhattan School of Music!  Directed by Carolyn Marlow, students of the Musical Theater Lab performed an array of Broadway tunes, many of them addressing issues of our present culture and many of them absolutely hilarious.

Some of them were songs we could not appreciate when seen on Broadway because of the egregious custom of deafening amplification.  Here they were sung unamplified by talented young artists with fine young voices and a good feel for the style. What a treat to understand every clever word!

Perhaps the funniest was "Baptize Me" from The Book of Mormon by Parker, Lopez, and Stone. Luke Sikora was hilarious as Elder Cunningham trying to perform his first baptism on the equally hilarious Allison Porter.  The double entendres flew thick and fast but not over the heads of the audience.

For political resonance, the cast performed  "Everybody's Got the Right" from Stephen Sondheim's Assassins, a wonderful choice.  One can never go wrong with Sondheim, whose text is always meaningful and whose music is always interesting and original.

The issue of "the road not taken" was tackled with excellent humor by Victoria Policht and Montana York in "The Grass is Always Greener" from Kander and Ebb's Woman of the Year. Ms. Policht portrayed an overburdened housewife in muumuu and fuzzy slippers, comparing her life to that of her stylish famous friend, enacted by Ms. York.

A different kind of rivalry was portrayed by Luke Sikora as an author and Sam Krivda as his more 
exciting creation in "You're Nothing Without Me" from Cy Coleman's City of Angels.

Not every duet was competitive.  The warm friendship between Glinda (Ms. Nobile) and Elphaba (Juliana Levinson) was harmonically lovely as they made their farewells in "For Good" from Stephen Schwartz' Wicked.

Marie Stumpf showed fine dramatic chops in two roles: she portrayed a very crazy girl in "Screw Loose" from Javerbaum & Schlesinger's Cry Baby. In "Come Up to My Place" from Leonard Bernstein's On the Town, she was hilarious as Hildy, driving a taxi in which passenger Chip (Sam Krivda), a sailor on leave, has a very outdated list of sights he wanted to see, all of which were long gone. Their interaction kept the audience in stitches.

The dilemma of living in an apartment in New York with very loud neighbors was illustrated by Han Hsiao in "14G" from Jeanine Tesori's Thoroughly Modern Millie. What made it even more fun was that the neighbors were singers, allowing Ms. Hsiao to exercise her vocal cords.

On a more serious note, she performed the duet "One Hand, One Heart" from Bernstein's West Side Story with Mr. Jin in the role of Tony.d

Fortunately we heard even more Bernstein when the full company ended the evening with "To Make Us Proud" from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and "Make Our Garden Grow" from Candide.

Shane Schag was Musical Director and Pianist. He did a bang-up job!

It was a fun evening from an entertainment standpoint but also rewarding in the knowledge that there are up and coming young performers whom we hope will keep Broadway lit up for many years to come.

(c) meche kroop

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