Some Enchanted Evening -- The Music Is Delightful
By Bob and Karen Isaacs
Some Enchanted Evening -- The Songs of Rodgers & Hammerstein now at the Ivoryton Playhouse through May 2 offers exactly what it's title implies. A tuneful evening of mostly familiar songs sung by an energetic young cast.
Herein also lies the problem. The show could be so much more. So let us nit-pick this production while reminding you that you will have a good time.
The first complaint has to be with Jeffrey B. Moss who is billed as having conceived this "For Jerry Kravat Entertainment Services, Inc." Clearly this was designed for amateur and small theater productions. Director/choreographer Walter Bobbie conceived and directed another Rodgers & Hammerstein review It's a Grand Night for Singing in the 1990s-- it actually played Broadway. Some Enchanted Evening offers a pastische of mostly overly familiar R&H songs instead of offering some of the lesser-known gems. Admittedly, two numbers from Allegro are included and one, relatively unknown song from Oklahoma!, but there are no numbers from Pipe Dream or Me and Juliet.
Moss has decided to create "characters" for the actors, except they never become clearly differentiated people. They have the names of some of R&H's famous characters -- Billy, Julie, Anna, Nellie and Will -- yet their characters and songs do not relate to these. The juxtaposition of songs is also at times odd. According to some information we found, act one is to create characters and act two displays their differing views of love. We did not see that.
The five performers at Ivoryton include three Equity cast members and two who are striving to get their Equity cards. Allan Snyder as "Billy" and Kyle Metzger as "Will" are by far the standout performers -- both vocally and in their ability to convey the lyrics without over-doing it. Metzger does an excellent version of "Maria" from Sound of Music, "Don't Marry Me" from Flower Drum Song" and a duet with Snyder of "It's a Puzzlement" from King and I. Snyder uses his fine baritone to advantage in "Soliloquy" from Carousel and "This Nearly Was Mine" from South Pacific.
None of the three women lives up to the men. On the night we saw it, each of three --Jennifer Lauren Brown as "Julie," Patryce Willilams as "Anna" and Jenna Sisson as "Nellie" had some vocal difficulties. They also had a tendency to overplay the emotion whether it was humor, pathos, petulance, etc.
Director/choreographer Leslie Unger did not help the women, giving them some very sexual and at times embarrassing choreography such as turning "Bali Hai" into a burlesque/strip club dance. Nor did costume designer Pam Puente help. The ladies' costumes were not always the most flattering.
One must also question why the whole thing is set in an art museum with projections that only occasional relate the songs.
And why, in a small theater such as Ivoryton and with only a piano accompaniment must the performers be amplified. One assume that as trained signers they could project sufficiently to be easily heard.
You will, despite all of these complaints, have a good time at Some Enchanted Evening and while you may not hear any unfamiliar songs, you will certainly walk out of theater humming some of the greatest show tunes of all time.
Some Enchanted Evening - the Songs of Rodgers & Hammerstein is at the Ivoryton Playhouse, 103 Main St., Ivoryton, through M. For tickets and information call 860-767-7318 or online at www.ivorytonplayhouse.org.
This review appeared in Sound Publications.