October 3, 2003

 

A Grand Night for Singing

reviewed by
Lynn Trenning

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more about Lynn Trenning, please visit her main page.

For more about CPCC Theatre, please visit their website.

Composer Richard Rodgers and Lyricist Oscar Hammerstein II wrote some of the best-loved songs in American musical history. A Grand Night for Singing is a trip down memory lane that celebrates several dozen of the duoís most popular tunes from Oklahoma, South Pacific, and The Sound of Music, among others.

Central Piedmont Community College Theatre takes feel good and makes it feel even better. In the final dress rehearsal, Jerry Colbert and Tad Hixson wend their way from silly, in Hixsonís "The Surrey with the Fringe on Top," to passionate, in Colbertís "Oh What a Beautiful Morniní." Their female counterparts, Daryl Wood Gerber, Susan Roberts Knowlson, and Lynda Shuler play coquettish girlfriends, spurned lovers, and playful flirts. In "Donít Marry Me," the men inform the women, "You will always know where I am, Iím out!"

Shulerís voice is challenged by the daunting competence of her co-stars, but she holds her own in the darling "I Canít Say No." CPCC Theatre staple Knowlson could make a grown man cry with her rendition of "Something Wonderful," from The King and I.

The production excels when the whole company sings. In "Honey Bun," Colbert fails in a very endearing way to complete a 360 degree hip swivel. "Some Enchanted Evening," the jaunty "Kansas City," and the closing number "Impossible," which segues seamlessly into the uplifting "I Have Dreamed," are particularly strong.

Drina Keen directs a six piece orchestra, most notable for its soulful cello, played by Liz Burns. A tacky set of pink staircases, and white lattice strewn with ivy, undermines the glamorous black and white evening wear of the cast. A Grand Night for Singing is an old-fashioned revue, in the best sense of the term.

Lynn Trenning, October 3, 2003

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