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Kaufman Music Center Presents "Two’s Company", Broadway’s Greatest Duets, at Merkin Hall
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Kaufman Music Center Presents "Two’s Company", Broadway’s Greatest Duets, at Merkin Hall

- Jazz and Cabaret Corner: Arts and Education

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Kaufman Music Center
and One Day University

Present Broadway Closeup:
Two’s Company; Broadway’s Greatest Duets

Marsha Milgrom Dodge, Director
Georgia Stitt, Music Director
Sean Hartley, Host

Performances by:
Farah Alvin, Lora Lee Gayer, Jason Gotay
John Herrera, Jeff Kready, Kevin Massey
Gabrielle Stravelli, Sally Wilfert

Merkin Concert Hall
(Merkin Hall Website)
Press: Joan Jastrebski

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
November 15, 2017

Kaufman Music Center and One Day University collaborated for tonight’s fascinating show, centering on renowned and rarely known Broadway duets. With Sean Hartley onstage, offering tonight’s audience informative anecdotes about shows that ran endlessly and shows that closed early, about producers’ successes and flops, about backstage dramas of performers, composers, lyricists, directors, and more, the audience leaned in. Tonight’s singers have almost all been reviewed on and off-Broadway and in NY clubs for jazz and cabaret on these pages.

Among the impressive Broadway, Off-Broadway, Regional, Touring, and Jazz/Cabaret credits for tonight’s vocalists are: Farah Alvin (It Shoulda Been You), Lora Lee Gayer (Doctor Zhivago), Jason Gotay (Bring It On, the Musical), John Herrera (Evita), Jeff Kready and Kevin Massey (A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder), Gabrielle Stravelli (Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, Guest Vocalist), and Sally Wilfert (The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee). Almost all of these listed performances are reviewed on the above linked columns. Sean Hartley, tonight’s Host, is a playwright, composer, and lyricist, as well as director of Kaufman Music Center’s musical theater division.

Mr. Massey and Ms. Alvin sang “On a Desert Island with Thee” from the Rodgers/Hart Connecticut Yankee with ebullient refinement. Mr. Herrera and Ms. Wilfert sang “But in the Morning, No” from the Cole Porter Du Barry Was a Lady, in the retro tribute to Bert Lahr and Ethel Merman. Ms. Alvin and Mr. Kready reprised “Come To My Place” from the Comden/Green/Bernstein On the Town, with tuneful brass and sass. Ms. Stravelli and Ms. Gayer were two sisters thinking of Ohio in “Ohio” from the Comden/Green/Bernstein Wonderful Town, and Mr. Hartley’s audience asides enriched this listening experience. Mr. Gotay and Ms. Wilfert sang what Mr. Hartley called a “partner song”, the engaging “You’re Just in Love” from the Irving Berlin Call Me Madam.

Ms. Stravelli and Mr. Massey sang “I’ll Never Be Jealous Again”, with lyrical refrains, from the Adler/Ross The Pajama Game, and Ms. Wilfert and Ms. Alvin created a mother-daughters trio with tonight’s masterful pianist, Music Director, Georgia Stitt, for “The Piano Lesson” from the Meredith Wilson The Music Man. Ms. Gayer and Mr. Kready sang a great duet, “I’ll Try” from the Fields/Sprague Redhead. Mr. Massey and Ms. Stravelli sang a “fight song”, “You Still Have a Long Way To Go” from the Grossman/Hackaday Goodtime Charley, followed by Mr. Kready and Mr. Gotay’s own “fight song”, “The Chess Game” from the William Finn Falsettos.

This musically-packed concert, performed with no intermission, then brought out Ms. Gayer and Ms. Alvin in a female duet, “What Is This Feeling?” from the Stephen Schwartz Wicked. Mr. Herrera and Mr. Gotay joined tunefully in a partner song for “Dear Theodosia” from the Lin-Manuel Miranda Hamilton, followed by Mr. Herrera and Ms. Wilfert, as wistful parents, in “Our Children” from the Ahrens/Flaherty Ragtime. Ms. Gayer and Mr. Gotay, in another parent-themed song, sang “What Could Be Better?”, that takes place in an obstetrician’s office, from the Maltby/Shire Baby. Dry humor then kicked in for Mr. Kready and Mr. Massey’s seasoned duet, “It’s Better with a Man” from the Steven Lutvak A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder.

Ms. Wilfert and Ms. Stravelli merged vocals in the duet, “What You Don’t Know About Women” from the Coleman/Zippel City of Angels, followed by Mr. Massey and Ms. Alvin and members of the cast in “Barcelona” from the Stephen Sondheim Company. Three more Sondheim songs completed tonight’s program, “Every Day a Little Death” from A Little Night Music (Ms. Wilfert and Ms. Gayer), “Agony” from Into the Woods (Mr. Gotay and Mr. Kready), and “You’re Gonna Love Tomorrow” from Follies (Ms. Stravelli, Mr. Herrera, and the full cast ensemble). At the end of the evening I was wishing for more upcoming revivals, to fully experience many of these long-ago musicals. Kudos to all.

For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at