A “sizzling and sweet” feast of songs and music were exquisitely served up by the incomparable Bernadette Peters (and orchestra!) to a capacity house at Paramount Saturday night! With her classic beauty and a legendary non-stop career on stage and screen, the glamorous star, so fresh and funny, was a knock out vocally and how she held the crowd so personally. Singing from the musical theater canon, most notably the songs of Stephen Sondheim of course, a rendition of “Fever” was debuted for us to spice things up! A sumptuous affair, she casts a magical spell over us, sculpting shapes in the spotlight with her signature mane of voluminous curly locks, that profile and luminous smile, and the swerve of a hip with a twinkle in her eyes. What captivates most is the voice. She moves us with a sound that gets right to our hearts. Every song alternately playful and soulful, portrays a woman who’s knows the torture of love and the forever girlish wonder of it. My first recollection of her is her network debut on Johnny Carson’s The Tonight Show singing Irving Berlin’s “What’ll I do.” I remember the camera moving into a close up on her as she sings, “When I’m alone, with only dreams of you, that won’t come true, what’ll I do?” I never saw anyone on prime-time time tv sing like that: her eyes filling up with tears, glistening. In college, there was the cast album of Dames at Sea. And then on Broadway seeing her in Into the Woods, Follies and A Little Night Music. On Saturday night, every show she mentioned and sang from felt so present and in the moment receiving the most rousing enthusiasm and ovation. Incredibly, the show stopped song after song. Time stood still. And yet went by in a flash; over much too soon!
At home this morning, I started this “Tuesdays” and, unfinished, ran to Newsies rehearsal. Lunch is when I usually catch up and sign off on it but was called to a Marketing and PR meeting, then back to rehearsal, and now with choreographer Joshua Blake Carter taking over for the Finale Ultimo, it is 6 o’clock! Sorry, you’re gonna see this Wednesday morning!
Drills and repetitions rotate like a perpetual motion machine. During a pause, one of them catching my eye, gives me a double thumbs up and a smile.
So I might as well go on for a bit here: I am at my laptop while the cast is learning Josh’s staging. It’s a lively room! The newsies just danced a sweaty, red-faced, knock-out reprise of “Carrying the Banner.” (They’ve been dancing all day, mind you). And next is the transition into “King of New York” with the entire company. Drills and repetitions rotate like a perpetual motion machine. During a pause, one of them catching my eye, gives me a double thumbs up and a smile. Then more singing and dancing red-faced and sweaty.
It’s 7 p.m. End of day. The energy drains from the space as they head out onto Stolp Ave. Our stage managers Matt and Maegan set up calls and schedules while intern Valerie prepares the room for tomorrow. “Are you okay, Jim?” “Yeah, I just have to finish up the blog here. Never got it done for today.” And then its just me in our new rehearsal hall alone with you. I think about how grateful I am.
Love & thanks,