note: entire contents copyright 2012 by Sheila Barth
Love and romance took center stage last Sunday afternoon at the Reagle Music Theatre of Greater Boston’s Robinson Theatre in Waltham, when beautiful Broadway star Rachel York and widely acclaimed performer Brent Barrett presented an exclusive two-act concert, “Isn’t It Romantic”.
The duo, who performed together on Broadway and in other musical theater venues, welcomed their reunion and the opportunity to charm the audience with their musical valentine of nostalgic and hit love songs.
York is best-known in the industry for her award-winning performance in “Victor/Victoria;” also for her appearances in “Les Miserables;” “101 Dalmations;” “Dessa Rose;” “Putting it Together;” and in Boston and area theaters in “Hello Dolly,” “Into the Woods,” (for which she won IRNE awards) and “Spamalot;” her portrayal as Lucille Ball in the CBS Movie of the Week, “Lucy;” and more
. The handsome Barrett cuts an elegant figure, as he did on Broadway in “Chicago” and “Annie Get Your Gun;” in Las Vegas, in “Phantom-The Las Vegas Spectacular;” the Broadway revival of “Candide;” the New York City Opera’s production of “Brigadoon;” in Boston and area theaters in “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels;” and others nationally and internationally.
Adding to the fun, the two peppered their solos and duets with anecdotes about their famous co-stars and comical blurbs that avoided tabloid pages. The couple was accompanied by well-known Broadway pianist/music director Eugene Gwozdz, whose list of credits and working directly with music greats is expansive.
His overture of “Isn’t it Romantic” was a stirring lead-in to York and Barrett’s opening duet, “Hooray for Love,” and a delightful stream of 23 songs based on the ecstasy and agony of love. The duo briefly explained their friendship, which spans 20 years, and their joy of working together, especially in the West End revival touring production of “Kiss Me Kate,” (which won a Tony Award).
Their voices blended richly in all numbers, their personalities clicked warmly. They obviously enjoyed their singing duel in Irving Berlin’s “Let’s Have an Old-Fashioned Wedding” and “Anything You Can Do,” from “Annie Get Your Gun”. Contrastingly, they were romantically mellow in Burt Bacharach’s “The Looks of Love” medley, in which they featured several Dionne Warwick hits, and in their encore rendition of the lovely “How Do You Keep The Music Playing”.
Besides her mellifluent tones, York was stunningly svelte in her form-fitting, jewel-toned gowns, their glittery bodices and trim that complement her beauty and signature gleaming, wide, smile. Setting the tone and mood, the background changed color, matching York’s gowns.
Although the duo was delightful in all numbers, York shone especially in her dramatic solos of Stephen Sondheim’s “Send in the Clowns,” Kander and Ebb’s “Maybe This Time,” and Levin and Schafer’s “He Touched Me”.
And Barrett fully unleashed his rich baritone in his solo, “How to Handle a Woman,” was hauntingly eloquent in “Music of the Night,” and musically repentant in his stirring version of “I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face”.
For information on future Reagle Theatre shows and concerts, call 781-894-2330, 781-891-5600, or visit www.reaglemusictheatre.org.