by Kelly Thunstrom

Nancy Kadwill and Dennis Christoforetti in A GRAND NIGHT FOR SINGING at Playcrafters of Skippack.

One can hardly go through a list of musical theater greats without having Rodgers and Hammerstein at the very top. They just go together like peanut butter and jelly or milk and cookies. A GRAND NIGHT FOR SINGING celebrates the dynamic duo with a revue of some of the greatest numbers ever written for the stage. Director AND conductor Arnie Finkel states in his director’s notes that “The only problem you, our audience, will have is – which tune to hum on the way out.” I wholeheartedly agree and found the production thoroughly enjoyable.

Featuring a cast of just six and an orchestra of five, A GRAND NIGHT FOR SINGING knows that the real stars are the songs. There is very little spoken dialogue, with the cast rotating on and off the stage to sing. Act One features famous numbers from Rodgers and Hammerstein’s mainstays, such as OKLAHOMA, THE KING AND I, SOUTH PACIFIC, and THE SOUND OF MUSIC. Zachary Heller’s voice is mesmerizing during “Surrey With the Fringe on Top”, while Alicia Landis’s soprano and Kim Oszkowski’s alto shine in “I’m in Love With a Wonderful Guy” and “If I Loved You”, respectively. Dennis Christoforetti gives emotional meaning to the melodic “We Kiss in a Shadow”. Steve Pollock is wonderful in “Honey Bun”, showing off not only his fine voice but his humorous side. Nancy Kadwill not only has a beautiful voice but also is quite funny in “Shall We Dance”.  The start of Act Two brings the cast out in far dressier attire but also features some lesser-known numbers than the first act.

Zachary Heller and Alicia Landis in a scene from A GRAND NIGHT FOR SINGING at Playcrafters of Skippack.

I enjoyed the interaction with both the audience and the orchestra in this production, specifically with Pollock in “Honey Bun” and Heller in “Maria”. The six members of the cast, while singing their own songs beautifully, were at their best when singing all together. “Some Enchanted Evening” and “I Have Dreamed” were incredibly harmonious.

Of course, A GRAND NIGHT FOR SINGING would be great performed any time of the year, but it was especially welcome in December. With all the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it’s nice to sit back, relax, and just remember two of the greatest musical theater legends to ever have lived. In case Mr. Finkel is wondering what tune I was humming on the way out the door…”Some Enchanted Evening”.

Featuring the songs of Rodgers and Hammerstein
Directed and conducted by Arnie Finkel
December 7-16, 2012
Playcrafters of Skippack
2011 Store Road
Skippack, PA

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1 comment

Dave Pacewicz January 1, 2013 - 6:23 pm

Thoroughly enjoyable afternoon. Extremely talented cast, great orchestral support and a spectacular sound system.


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