Season finale of ‘5 @ 1st’ is a wonderful romp Reply

Review by Judith Caldwell
            The final concert in the 5 @ the First series presented a varied offering of music from the Baroque grandeur of Bach, to Rossini, to contemporary Canadian music and finally a rarely performed Vaughan Williams. The afternoon began with Joseph Phillips performing Bach’s Suite #2 in D minor for cello, transposed very effectively for bass. It is rare to hear a bass solo as it is often presumed to be a supporting instrument, but Phillips showed he could perform the very technically difficult Suite in an expressive manner on his wonderfully resonant instrument.

The 5 @ 1st quintet

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“SISTER ACT”; could be ‘habit forming! Reply

Review by Ellen S. Jaffe
Sister Act
, the current presentation of Hamilton Theatre Inc., is among the increasing number of Broadway musical comedies based on an earlier movie.  The original 1992 movie starred Whoopi Goldberg. The musical play, with music by Alan Menkin, lyrics by Glenn Slater, and book by Cheri and Bill Steinkeller, premiered in Pasadena in 2006, opened in London’s West End in 2009, and on Broadway in 2011. HTI’s production, celebrating its 60th season of producing music comedy in Hamilton, performs the minor miracle of successfully mounting this large-scale musical on the small stage of HTI’s theatrical home on McNab St. North.

A shot from the original ‘Sister Act’; WITHOUT the hammy Whoopi

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“Stravinsky; St. John & the H.P.O.” Reply

Review by Danny & Terry Gaisin
Objectivity is a basic precept of criticism or assessment. So, to be impartial when writing about a performer who is also a longtime friend; our evaluation of Lara St. John is a collaboration. Conclusion- she still entrances and mesmerizes her audience. Executing the demanding Korngold violin concerto in D; St. John demonstrated that in addition to a faultless technical talent, she has lost none of the mischievous mannerisms that so endeared her to us pre- NYC and the myriad orchestral solo opportunities she has enjoyed. Like Shauna Roulston, she permits moments of elated animation insert itself into her posture and interpretation.

St. John performing the Korngold violin concerto with the H.P.O.

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“The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee”; been there – lost! Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin

The William Finn 2005 short musical comedy about a Middle School competition is always a pleasure to witness as the play usually recruits 3 or 4 additional competitors chosen from the audience; and the improvisational ‘please use in a sentence’ bits are always contemporary and hilarious. This scribe participated in just such an event back in 1948. Youngest & smallest contestant; I was the only 6th grader in a Grade Seven Bee. The word ‘Apricot’ screwed me up and I’ve never eaten one since!
Drury Lane’s production under the direction of Gregory Flis is smooth, fast-paced and delightful.

The contestants and moderators of PUTNAM COUNTY

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“MESSIAH”, performed by Oakville’s MUSIKAY Reply

Review by Judith Caldwell
            “Messiah” is usually performed at Christmas but Musikay offered it on the final Saturday and today of April. Handel’s original performance was in Dublin just after Easter and that timing makes more sense with a libretto largely concerned with Christ’s passion and resurrection. It is rather discomforting at Christmas when the birth of Jesus is celebrated to sing of Him being despised, rejected etc. ‘Messiah’ normally is performed by a large choir but Musikay had a small 12-member chorus, four soloists and a nine-piece orchestra – each one of them talented, well trained professionals, capable of making a wonderful sound separately and together.

The MUSIKAY choir & musicians performing “MESSIAH”

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“SENZA LUCE”; allegorical musical by Sheridan undergrads. 1

Review by Danny Gaisin
An allegory is a representation of ideas; morals; religion or politics integrated into a poem, story or play. Theatre Sheridan’s “SENZA LUCE”, is a musical adaptation of a newspaper article seen by Neil Bartram and Brian Hill. Directed by the latter, the story reminds one of Gerstäcker’s 1840’s ‘GERMELSHAUSEN’. ‘Senza Luce’ is Italian for ‘without light’ and the plot deals with a town so deep in a valley as to be in total darkness. When a young inhabitant dares climb the mountain, he sees sunlight. Endeavoring to reflect the sun into the town, he disturbs the status quo and thus faces antagonism as well as intense animosity.

the cast of SENZA LUCE

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