Created by Kyle Ennis Turoff & Don Sturrock
Directed by Kyle Ennis Turoff
Golden Apple Dinner Theatre
25 N. Pineapple Ave., Sarasota
941-355-5454 or 800-652-0920
Tues.-Thurs., Sat.-Sun., Nov. 10, 2010--Jan. 2, 2011

Reviewed by Marie J. Kilker

In research, the show's creative duo claims to have found over 1500 songs about New York in whole or part. More than about any other city, even the few like Paris and Chicago  cited at the start.  The Golden Apple's "I (Heart) New York" musical  revue of '05 seemed to set a matching record for songs it used. Here its sequel begins and ends the same way--with full treatments of "New York, New York."  Mostly, again, snatches of tunes in medleys as well as snitches of lyrics in bridges between numbers are presented grouped according to themes. The original revue delivered glimpses of history of the greater city in slides designed like postcards.  This time, thematic film clips have local "celebrities" like a writer and theatre artists commenting on phases of the city where they lived, worked, or frequently visited.

Effectively energizing what could have been a duded up, overlong cabaret, three men and three women sing and dance nearly non-stop. They do Dewayne Barett's musical staging proud. Berry Ayers---husky physically, high-toned vocally---sometimes begins with a solo that acquires back-up and then morphs into a full-cast number.  But his "New York State of Mind" is all his. Beautiful brunette soprano Corinne Bach,  recently acclaimed  "Merry Widow" star, shines brightly yet, with ballads extra pleasing. When tap is called for, sprightly Roz Mitchell takes the spotlight. As a dance partner she brings out the best in smooth, handsome Eric Gregory, and vice-versa.  Scott Vitale conveys youthful sweetness even in sweeping movement. Handling  "fun" lyrics, Ellie Pattison  may be the most effective comedian of the group but she's versatile in conveying other types of mood. So are her simple but elegant costume designs, all  black that can be accessorized at the start, and later sophisticated plum-colored outfits.

A slightly new take on a great audience pleaser in the previous revue has the cast giving an imaginary tour of New York, from "Christopher Street" to "127th Street" to "The Bowery."

Included are "Wall Street," "Downtown" and  "Feeling Groovy" (the original title of the latter having been "The 59th Bridge Song").  Of course, "Lullabye of Broadway" highlights a segment of show tunes. There's also one contrasting old NY songs  (like "East Side, West Side") and new (like "N-Y-C"). Another shows a darker side NYC, as "A City of Strangers," for example.  Director Kyle Ennis Turoff assures that song lyrics are well interpreted emotionally and in movement.

Don Sturrock not only provides musical direction with his own arrangements and orchestrations but he's also conductor and pianist upstage center. John Januszewski is his able percussionist. Francis Cole III's scenic design featuring collages of famous NYC names benefits from Brad Pattison's lighting pallet. Benjamin M. Turoff edited the film commentaries. I don't think they add much, and certainly not for audience members who know New York at all. Visitors to Sarasota might wonder who the filmed speakers are and why their comments are important enough to be featured. As theatre, the older revue's vintage photos and film clips came over better.

Stage Manager Alexis Torres helped the flow of the revue, which lasted 2 hours and 10 minutes at press opening, without exhausting the energetic performers. But a little less might be more, from an audience point of view.  

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