Show Tune Swoon


AHEM! ... Do-re-mi-mi-mi-meeeee. ... Downbeat, maestro, if you please.

Come on along, kids, and listen to that lullaby of Broadway -- you diggin' that hidee-hi and boopa-doo? That's the lullaby of Broadway, all right. The band begins to go to town, and everyone's going c-raaaaazy. In no time you'll be rock-a-bying your baby 'round till everything gets hazy. (1 -- see bottom of the story, Broadway babies)

"We had 700 people last year," says Doug Peterson, director of the Southern Nevada Musical Arts Society, which presents its twin "Fabulous Broadway" concerts this weekend at the College of Southern Nevada's Nicholas J. Horn Theatre. "They've just been enraptured."

Heading to the Horn where these boffo Broadway tunes live, you'll recall walking down this street before, but the pavement always stayed beneath your feet before. Strange, you'll think -- all at once am I several stories high (whoa, hope you don't have vertigo!) knowing I'm on the street where they live. Look -- lilac trees! In this part of town? I can't hear a lark in any other part of town, can you? Enchantment pours out these theater doors. And it's just on the street where they live. (2)

On the very first note, you'll believe the meteorologist who promised that gray skies are gonna clear up, so put on a happy face, kiddo. Just brush off those clouds and cheer up, will ya, and put on a happy face. May we suggest you take off that gloomy mask of tragedy? It's not your style. You'll look so good that you (and your orthodontist) will be glad you decided to smile! (3)

"Many of our audience are seniors, and they seem so starved for this kind of music that they know and love," says Peterson, who will conduct the 55-voice chorus, backed by an instrumental ensemble, on a program that spans nearly a century of Great White Way standards, from Tin Pan Alley to cutting-edge musicals. "I'm besieged by these people when we do this show."

Won't take long before you'll see the folks onstage and consider yourself at home, even consider yourself one of the family. You've taken to them so strong, huh? It's clear you're going to get along. In fact, you'll consider yourself well in, even consider yourself part of the furniture. (4)

"When I saw these musicals when I was younger, it was a magical experience," says Elaine Fitzpatrick, one of the show's soloists, along with husband Tod Fitzpatrick, Sidra Kain, Patti Battani and Andy Jackson. "All the costuming, the lighting, the stories told while people were singing just drew me in."

At points in the evening, you'll hear something familiar, something peculiar, something for everyone. Sounds like ... yes, a comedy tonight! They'll be something appealing, something appalling, something for everyone -- it's true, a comedy tonight! They'll be nothing with kings, nothing with crowns -- bring on the lovers, liars and clowns! (5)

At other points, a chill will tingle your spine when you attend the tale of Sweeney Todd. Beware -- he served a dark and a vengeful god, ya know. This madman shaved the faces of gentlemen who never thereafter were heard of again. Safe to say he trod a path that few have trod, did Sweeney Todd -- dude's called the Demon Barber of Fleet Street for a reason. Advisory: Stick with electric razors. (6)

"This is such a great repertoire," says soloist Tod Fitzpatrick about a show that ties "Button Up Your Overcoat" and "Yankee Doodle Dandy" to Sondheim's "Send in the Clowns" and "Do You Hear the People Sing" from "Les Miserables."

"I was raised on this music from junior high school on, and it operates on so many different levels. The music is very complex from a structural standpoint and just intrinsically beautiful."

Growing nostalgic, you may try to remember when life was so tender that no one wept except the willow. You'll try to remember when life was so tender that dreams were kept beside your pillow. You'll even try to remember when life was so tender that love was an ember about to billow. You'll try hard to remember, and if you remember, you'll follow. ... follow ... follow ... (7)

If your mind wanders, perhaps to post-show gambling, you'll wonder if luck will be a lady tonight. You know, no lady leaves her escort, it's not fair, and certainly ain't nice. No respectable lady wanders the room and -- SCANDALOUS! -- blows on some other guy's dice, that's for sure. But fret not, she'll keep the party polite and never get out of your sight, my man. She'll stick with you, baby, 'cause you're the fella she came in with. Don't sweat it -- luck will be a lady tonight. (8)

"It's a real American art form," Tod Fitzpatrick says. "Musical theater is really a genre unto itself and has traversed the world. With Broadway, America has really had an impact."

Concert's ending. You know, when a Broadway baby says good night, it's early in the morning -- those Manhattan babies don't sleep tight until the dawn, anyway. So good night, baby, good night, check out that milkman on his way. Sleep tight, baby, sleep tight. Let's call it a day, kids. (9)

Curtain call: This narrative was inspired by 1: "Lullaby of Broadway" ("42nd Street") 2: "On the Street Where You Live" ("My Fair Lady") 3: "Put on a Happy Face" ("Bye Bye Birdie") 4: "Consider Yourself" ("Oliver!") 5: "Comedy Tonight" ("A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum") 6: "The Ballad of Sweeney Todd" ("Sweeney Todd") 7: "Try to Remember" ("The Fantasticks") 8: "Luck Be a Lady" ("Guys and Dolls") 9: Reprise of "Lullaby of Broadway."

Contact reporter Steve Bornfeld at sbornfeld@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0256.

 

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