Jamie deRoy & Friends Celebrate Broadway

 

A singer gathers her impressive friends for a tribute to Broadway musicals.

 

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By Joel Benjamin

 

If we all had friends like Jamie deRoy, life would be one continuous celebration. Alas, we must settle for Ms. deRoy’s far too infrequent soirees like the most recent at Birdland where her four Broadway star friends sang and joked for a rapt audience. This was Jamie deRoy’s homage to Broadway, beginning with “Another Opening, Another Show” (Porter) and ending with a sing-along of “Lullaby of Broadway” (HarryWarren/Al Dubin). There were anecdotes, memories and lots of fun.

Handsome, dashing Hugh Panaro who spent a great deal of time playing two roles in The Phantom of the Opera sang “The Music of the Night” (Lloyd Webber/Stilgoe/Hart) with the kind of authority that only a veteran of the show could muster. Jerry Herman enjoyed Panaro’s interpretation of his “It Only Takes a Moment” and it was clear why as Panaro wrapped his voice around the song with a subtle sense of dynamics.

Pamela Myers related how she got the role of Marta in Company and sang her character’s rip-roaring “Another Hundred People” (Sondheim) – – in the original key!  Wow!  She also sang Sondheim’s “Send in the Clowns” which she has grown into beautifully.

Luba Mason, a veteran of the current revival of Chicago, sang a sensuous “All That Jazz” (Kander/Ebb) as well as a deliciously wacky “Heart of Gold” from How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying (Loesser), which she warbled as Hedy LaRue in the famous 1995 Broadway revival.

Jamie slipped in a hilarious retread of “My Favorite Things” (Rodgers/Hammerstein) with new, personalized lyrics by Barry Kleinbort. It was gallop down the memory lane of all the clubs, cabarets and sad venues in which she appeared on the way up.

Tony Award winner Lena Hall’s set didn’t quite hit Broadway, but her “Maybe I’m Amazed” (Paul McCartney) and a stream of consciousness “Psycho Killer” (David Byrne/Chris Franz/Tina Weymouth) did, showing her command of soft and hard rock.

Kevin Meaney was very funny joking about Hairspray in which he played a number of parts. He performed both parts of the duet “Timeless to Me” (Marc Shaiman/Scott Wittman), appearing to be very much in love with himself.

The marvelous Judy Kaye, looking absolutely terrific, sang “Think of Me” from Phantom, which she sang in the show, interrupted by the falling chandelier. (“My first chandelier,” she quipped.) That show is a super hit.   Oh, Brother, the 1981 Donald Driver-Michael Valente Middle Eastern themed musical, however, was a turkey. Ms. Kaye joked that this was just one of her Middle East musicals which included stints in Kismet and Jesus Christ, Superstar. From Oh, Brother she sang “Loud and Funny Song,” which consisted of a lot of “la, la, la’s” which Ms. Kaye turned into comic gold.

Music director, Ron Abel on piano and Tom Hubbard on bass provided the surprisingly rich accompaniments.

This show was part of Jim Caruso’s Broadway at Birdland series. Check out the upcoming shows at www.castpartynyc.com.

Jamie deRoy & Friends Celebrate Broadway – May 17, 2015

Birdland  315 West 44th St., between 8th & 9th Avenues  New York, NY

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