Saturday, July 17, 2010

Theater Review - Summer Stock NYC

CAP21 America’s Musical Theatre Conservatory & Theatre Company
Directed by Scott Burkell
Choreography by Tony Stevens
Musical Direction by Karl Mansfield
The Michael Schimmel Center for the Arts at Pace University

With this production of CAP21’s Summer Stock NYC: A Celebration of the Broadway Musical, the focus was on great female characters from the Broadway stage. Truly a fun mix from ingénues to divas throughout the evening!

Karen Mason (Broadway star of Mamma Mia and Sunset Boulevard) wowed the audience with every song, including "Everything’s Coming Up Roses", "As If We Never Said Goodbye" and "City Lights". I know this is going to sound corny but when I see a performance that truly moves me, tears come to my eyes. Such a moment happened during Karen’s performance of “As If We Never Said Goodbye” from Sunset Boulevard. I have seen both Glenn Close and Betty Buckley in the role of Norma Desmond on Broadway, but neither one of them pulled off this song so brilliantly. I have never before had the opportunity to see this Broadway star on stage. Now I know what all the fuss is about!

As discussed during my interview with Colleen Zenk, this soap opera vet is now focusing on returning to her musical theater roots. Beautiful and charismatic, she was in fine form, starting off with the hot ensemble number of “Hey, Big Spender” from Sweet Charity, proving she could sex it up just as much as the young twenty-something singers by her side...but all of us familiar with her work as “Barbara Ryan“ from As The World Turns already knew she could do that in her sleep! She was excellent in “I’m a Brass Band” also from Sweet Charity as well as “What You Don’t Know About Women” from City of Angels (a duet with stock company member Pearl Sun). However, the stand-out song of the evening was when the two divas, Karen and Colleen, united with “Bosom Buddies” from Mame, a terrific duet of vocal skill and comic timing…great stuff that you rarely see without paying hundred-dollar ticket prices.

The young and promising ladies of the CAP21 stock company were quite able to hold their own as well. There was not one weak link of the night. So many songs of the evening that I can’t include them all, but some of my favorite highlights were:

“If Mama Was Married”, Gypsy - Kelly Feithous and Kelsey Crouch Pinter

Tribute from Wicked - Carrie Melonakos and Dana Steingold

“Don‘t Rain On My Parade“, Funny Girl - Pearl Sun

Tribute from Rent - The entire stock company

Collaborative Arts Project 21 hopes to create a summer stock production not only for Manhattan but to eventually reach all five boroughs of New York City. I wish the company luck in their endeavor to reach out and get people back to the theatre!

For information about tickets and show times, visit CAP 21's website.

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