From the internationally renowned Boston Pops to the locally treasured Theatre Time’s Holiday Memories and Theatre by the Bay’s Cabaret, the holiday season is already a musical feast.
Paraphrasing a famous quote, beloved conductor Keith Lockhart offers three wishes for the holidays—“Peace, Joy and Music.” Then two hours of beautifully orchestrated classics, clever new arrangements and guest appearances by respected artists fills the night.
The venue is the Colden Auditorium of Kupferberg Center at Queens College. In fact, Executive Director Jeff Rosenstock, onstage, thanks the Kupferbergs who have joined the audience for tonight’s performance.
Guest bass-baritone Justin Hopkins mesmerizes the audience with a solemn “Mary Did You Know” and a lighthearted “Christmas is A-Comin’”. He is trumped by Queens College President James Muyskens’ rendition of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas,” with musical support.
Behind the orchestra, the Metropolitan Chorale of Brookline (Lisa Graham, conductor) adds their own special magic to the evening. Sometimes strictly solemn, sometimes mischievous, their voices provide a spectacular tribute to the holiday season.
The first act includes majestic favorites from the masters, including the “Hallelujah Chorus” by Handel-Mozart and “Waltz of the Flowers” from the Nutcracker by Tchaikovsky
The second act features mostly lighthearted arrangements including “Holly, Jolly Jingle,” “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer,” and an upbeat sing-along with the audience.
Clearly conductor Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra have added another jewel toQueens’ crown with their internationally prominent reputation.
For information on next week’s performance by musical legend Valerie Simpson and future events, call (718) 793-8080 or surf to www.KupferbergPresents.org. As always, save me a seat on the aisle.
THEATRE TIME’S HOLIDAY MEMORIES
An early winter’s rain pummels windshields in Queens. But downstairs, at 54th Avenue and 217th Street (the Colonial Church of Bayside) almost a dozen Theatre Time singers and musicians are warming hearts with their holiday memories.
Although solos are plentiful, the entertainers have wisely left their egos at the door. Instead, they share poignant personal emotions with the audience. Alfred Mendez, an 18 year old graduate of LaGuardia High School dedicates one of his solos to his beloved grandmother’s memory. Klaudia Morelowska, originally from Poland, thanks her parents for a new start in the United States. She possesses an outstanding classical and opera-quality voice. Lovely Christina Macias has the audience keeping the beat for “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” in Act II.
Once again, Producer Judy Vincent and husband Artistic Director Kevin C. Vincent have made it look easy. That includes a dessert buffet after the show. Musical Director Brett Roelof sings solos, duets and accompanies the cast onstage. John Palmieri provides tech support.
Drummer/guitarist Steve London adds a light hearted chord to the evening. Soprano Katie Fogarty has an especially bright smile. After all, she tells us, her birthday is Christmas Eve! Exuberant Nicole Schenone, at 11 years of age, is the show’s youngest performer. Her version of “Jingle Bell Rock” earns warm applause. Grace Matranga’s “Silent Night” and her duets are reassuring and resonant. Barbara Fleisher picks up her guitar for “Light One Candle.” Sabrina Balducci ably shares the nostalgic “I’ll Be Home for Christmas.”
For information on future productions, call (347) 358-8102, surf to www.TheatreTime.org or find them at facebook.com/TheatreTime. As always, save me a seat on the aisle.
CABARET NIGHT AT THEATRE BY THE BAY
It’s a crisp, clear Saturday evening with a star filled sky. Inside, the stars are shining just as brightly for Theatre by the Bay’s Cabaret. Ten tables are named after Broadway super hits. They will be remembered tonight by talented community theatre veterans.
Anchored by Jean Ann Kump and Barry Feterman, the affection between the twosome is unmistakable. It’s their personal connection and the warmth that radiates to the audience that creates a comfortable, clever and very melodious cabaret concert.
The evening’s special guests are Isabel and Tess Robin. At 14 and 11 years of age, we’ve watched them blossom on local stages. Isabel, determined and dedicated to her education and craft, attends LaGuardia High School for the Performing Arts. Her solos tonight are excellent, as always. Tess’ mischievous smile is especially disarming when competing against her big sister in musical/comedy duets.
Jean Ann is at her best when she belts out a showstopper. Her dazzling gowns are rivaled only by her powerful voice and charismatic onstage presence. Barry, on piano and vocals, rules the second act with his celebrity impressions. His self deprecating humor and familiar jokes keep the audience chuckling. Sometimes falsetto, sometimes quavering, with dozens of props, his good natured parodies are a bona fide delight.
During intermission, Jean Ann mingles with guests, revealing her health secrets and her budget shopper’s shortcuts. The audience can’t resist Barry’s invitation to dance to the old favorites and to join in several sing-alongs.
Producer Martha Stein and her committee have revived a winning formula with this cabaret style production. Call (718) 428-6363 for information. As always, save me a seat on the aisle.