There’s a fantastic new musical revue in town. First produced by the Rubicon Theatre in California it has just opened at 59E59 Theaters and all I can say is WOW! “The Best Is Yet To Come: the Music of Cy Coleman” celebrates Cy Coleman’s life with a selection of some of his biggest hits written with a variety of the top lyricists in the business. With an emphasis on Broadway show tunes. It’s as good as it gets. Entertaining, jazzy and razzmatazzy.
David Zippel who has written “City of Angels” (Six Tony Awards) with Cy Coleman and Larry Gelbart has devised and directed this extraordinarily entertaining musical revue highlighting the songs and not even trying to shoe horn a book into the proceedings. Mr. Zippel has segued the songs seamlessly, letting their various rhythms, lyrics and moods speak for themselves.
You will be brought back to the era of the Big Band by scenic designer Douglas W. Schmidt who ingeniously has built up the stage around the sunken piano where Billy Stritch holds forth conducting his team of on stage, formally attired musicians playing the great orchestrations by Don Sebesky.
The tiered set gives Mr. Zippel ample opportunities to stage the songs in an always fresh way. And he is chock full of visual surprises. Within the small space choreographer Lorin Lattaro provides just the right amount of dance for the incredibly talented cast of five – not including Mr. Stritch who sings and tinkles the ivories amiably at his piano.
The well dressed by Mr. William Ivey Long cast couldn’t be better. Every single one of them shines. Alone and together. There are too may show stoppers to mention as each cast member has their own as they interpret Mr. Coleman’s incredible talent. Lillias White does an outstanding job with “The Oldest Profession”. Rachel York with “Come Summer”. David Burnham with Ms. York in “Only The Rest of My Life” from an as yet to be produced musical “N” (about Napoleon and Josephine). Some of the most beautiful ballads are from “N” including “I’d Give The World” sung by Howard McGillin that is heartbreakingly lovely. Sally Mayes delves deep within to sing a magnificent “With Every Breath I Take”.
Some of the top lyricists represented are Alan & Marilyn Bergman (a surprisingly amusing “Those Hands” – Dorothy Fields “Big Spender”, Ira Gasman, Michael Stewart, David Zippel and the wonderful Carolyn Leigh “Little Me”.
The evening ends with a very up and positive medley including “It’s Not Where You Start”, “Hey There, Good Times” and “If My Friends Could See Me Now”.
Well folks and friends of Cy Coleman now is your chance. “The Best Is Yet To Come” is a rousing and completely sensational celebration of Mr. Coleman and his collaborators. Go! www.59E59.org
NOTE: The outstanding band: Woodwinds – Chuck Wilson, Nathan Childers, Frank Basile, Trumpet -Ross Konikoff, Trombone – Dan Levine, Bass- Bob Renino and Drums – Scott Neuman.
Photo: Carol Rosegg
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