A Cabaret  organized  by its stars
Music & Lyrics from Broadway Plays

The Golden Apple Celebrity Theatre
25 N. Pineapple Ave., Sarasota, 34236
941-366-5604; One-night show Feb. 14, 2013

Reviewed by Marie J. Kilker 

In its transition  from 40 plus years as a dinner  theater  to a  “Celebrity Theatre,”  the Golden Apple is putting on a number  of   special  presentations  of a night  to a week,  along  with  longer  engagements  of  regular   plays  and  musicals.   “Broadway Romance”   was not  only a special presentation  for Valentine’s  Day. It also began a series of  l-nighters  called  Broadway  Cabaret  Theatre.   If the opening in the cabaret  series  is indicative  of what’s to come,  the Golden  Apple has a hit  program in  its  future,  especially  since  Sarasota  has become  a type of  cabaret  mecca.  (Florida Studio Theatre  just  opened its second  cabaret  in  what  is almost  a duplicate  of  its  first in both facility  and  programming.)
“Broadway Romance”  began like a broadway  show  with  a  mini-overture   by Phil  Reno  at the piano. He splendidly  previewed the beginning  songs to be sung by Ron Bohmer  and  Sara Jean Ford.  Most wer e introduced  by Bohmer, who became a likeable quasi-emcee,   articulating   as well  in  plain speech  as  in  the  lyrics  of songs.  The trickiest   of the latter , by both vocalists,  came in a section  of Cole Porter  hits.  They went  through  every chorus  (the last  rarely  heard)  of  “You’re the Top.”  Like that  one, the selections  were  taken  from  Broadway  shows  and  expressed  or  furthered  romantic   love. Handsome Bohmer and  pretty, petite Ford  made a  good looking  couple who harmonized   well  and  made  the  most  of limited  movement.  Reno  did a  splendid  job of subbing for  an  orchestra – and without  electronic   devices.
Of the numbers,  three from “Phantom  of the Opera”  (in which Sarah Jean  played Christine  and Ron starred  as Phantom)  transported  listeners  to what  seemed  like  a  fully  staged  show.  Their work  from “The Fantastics”  was also  pleasant  and  well  coordinated.   Their  songs  from  “Music  Man”  were  separately   hits --  she  singing  “Til  There  Was  You”;  he  denouncing “Trouble.”

Altogether,  the  cabaret  was  a  95 minute  (with  one intermission)  string  of  hits.  Hopefully it was also a good omen  of  Broadway  cabarets  to come  to The  Apple (which  used  to call  itself  “Broadway  on  the  Suncoast”).

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