Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Love Is Never Gone (Review: A Singular Senation, Live From Lincoln Center, PBS)

What a way to start 2013! I am too old for current pop sensations, so I might as well go for the one singular sensation! One Direction? Not going there. Rhianna? Never mind. I am going for what I consider real talents: real voices with no vocoders and pro-Tools. Last night, PBA aired "One Singular Sensation: A Tribute To Marvin hamlisch," and in my opinion, a great alternative to the noise and merriment in Times Square, about twenty five blocks north of the crystal ball. And what a wonderful, dignified evening: After a soaring "A Chorus Line" overture, Audra McDonald sang a luminous "The Way We Were," sounding like I have never ever heard that song sung before. Then Megan Hilty - a true Broadway star of today if there ever was one - sang a sexy "Nobody Does It Better." Joshua Bell plays a soulful violin of "I'll Take Manhattan," with dear Marvin "on piano," and it was quite touching. Then guys take stage: an understated Michael Feinstein and Josh Groban, in all his tenor wonderfulness. The little spitfire Lilla Crawford sings "Disneyland," and while a little inappropriate and a tad pitchy, the spirit is there (And while we are at it, how about a "Smile" revival?) A duo of songs come next via Raul Esparza and Kelli O Hara , both wonderful songs from two of my favorites. And who knew Beth Behrs (of Two Broke Girls) could sing, and does a very good Val singing "Dance 10 Looks 3."  Maria Friedman sings a song from "The Nutty Professor," and it's a wonderful ballad from Hamlisch's last show. Though Brian D'Arcy James was a bit excessive, he's in character. And Maria Friedman doing "nothing" was a little to much as well. What comes next is pure perfection, though: Audra, Megan and Kelli singing "At The Ballet." I still get chills thinking about that number. They all converge for "What I Did For Love," and "One" for a rousing finale, and yes, it was such a beautiful end. It was nice to see an old friend, Tedd Firth, on piano - oh how he has risen to the big leagues now. This, for me, is the perfect enjoyable musical evening. Yes, it may not have the current factor of Psy, but I will take it.

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