Theatre by the Bay Presents Broadway Showstoppers
BY CLIFF KASDEN
Always true to our community’s need for a creative outlet, Producer/Director Lawrence F. Bloom’s Theatre by the Bay presents Queens performers of every age and of many nationalities. Their final dress rehearsal provided a powerful glimpse into classical favorites, bold dance styling and everything in between. Their theme is Broadway Showstoppers and their venue is 1300 209th Street in Bayside (Bay Terrace Jewish Center).
Anchored by skilled veterans and enhanced by newcomers, the troupe celebrates America’s musicals from the 1920s to the present. Act I is more subdued. It includes tributes to George M. Cohan, Cole Porter, the Ziegfeld Follies and other founding fathers of the Great White Way. The guys shine in “Give My Regards to Broadway” while Marla Leff and the girls have their chance in “I’m Not At All In Love” from “The Pajama Game.” Naturally, Cathy Chimenti and Jean Ann Kump appear again and again throughout the evening. Sometimes out front in solos, sometimes for duets, they are also the backbone of larger presentations. Both guide by example for many of the school age kids and newer performers. What a joy to have them in our midst.
The first act is also musically punctuated by David Yudell’s solos including “The Impossible Dream” and his version of “My Boy Bill…” He returns later with more stirring solos. Bright performers including Cathy Cosgrove, Eli Koenig, Terrence McDonnell, Lloyd Baum, Lila Edelkind, Bob Leff, Bob Santariello, Larry Dubin, Rebecca Cushman, Tom Albano, Kristin Zahorodny, Sharon DeCoursey (dance captain), Tristen Buettel, Elle Fried and Heather Bilczic represent different Broadway eras.
Act II is a bawdy, brash and electrifying medley of hot dance numbers from the musicals “Chicago,” “Sweet Charity,” and other Bob Fosse standouts. Choreographer Jenifer Badamo and Musical Director Rhea Arkin have outdone themselves. The mood is set by Dannis Anderson’s “Magic to Do” and “Corner of the Sky.” But the undeniable showstoppers are the troupe’s dynamic dancers who strut, sway and kick with unparalleled style. Wow!
The performers are truly incomparable in “Razzle Dazzle,” “All That Jazz,” “Hey Big Spender” and “Cell Block Tango.” In addition to previously mentioned dancers, kudos to Martin Costa, Janice Won, Fran Geier, Sherry Markowitz, Danielle Etheart, Niki Sorrentino and Elizabeth Rivas. Thanks to the band as well with Rhea Arkin, John Baratta, Adam Forman and Vicki Gleicher.
Alessandra Licul is charming with a song from “Hairspray” and Sue Fiebert leads the entire company for their finale. My personal favorite as a promising newcomer is Tristen Buettel who possesses a gentle but riveting presence onstage. Co-producers Barbara Koenig and Martha Stein have helped assemble an eager cast and crew that numbers close to fifty of our friends, relatives and neighbors. Please forgive any unintentional omissions.
There is just one weekend remaining for this pleasant evening in Queens. Call (718) 428-6363 for information. As always, save me a seat on the aisle.