note: entire contents copyright 2001 by Joe Coyne
Director Joe Antoun
Musical Director Tim Evans
Continuing its policy of offering the community an ear to local voices, Centastage is presenting evenings of cabaret with songs by eleven Boston composers and lyricists. I attended the November 20th performance when Mary Callanan was their special guest.
Distinctly informal was the mode and the back room at Club Cafe was filled with dedicated fans. With shouts of, "We Love You (whomever)", I expected to see placards.
Joe Antoun, Artistic Director of Centastage and Steven Bergman (Curse of the Bambino) wrote one of the opening numbers, "Boston Sings Boston" a vocal welcome, telling us why we were there and what to expect: a celebration by Boston artists, of Boston artists and they delivered with 18 songs. I did not expect Melinda Stanford's expressive and ever present smile to remain throughout the concert, but it did. Her best was a solo of "Morning Light", a Steven Reiffel ballad bemoaning the inability to return to home.
A duet with Gregory Bouchard, a local favorite, and Ms Sanford of "Like So" by Barbara Baig expressed the unspoken wish of lovers that the other in our lives could hear the heart and read the mind.
Trying to draw the finest of distinctions between Derek Jeter and Nathan Lane were Bouchard and Jon Blackstone in "Baseball Man" by Steven Berman and David Kruh. Mostly spoken, it owes much to the personal interplay between Blackstone and Bouchard.
The show's best was Jon Blackstone's torch song start to "I Love Me" a paean to oneself -- (I am maarveelous). It is a real joy to have Mr. Blackstone back performing, not only for the delivery and his voice but as well for the antics, the asides and just his comical stage presence. Ms Callanan sang four songs including the 1945 standard, "Give Me the Simple Life" by Rube Bloom and Harry Ruby. She also joined in for the final song, the seemingly familiar "Chandler Street" by Ernest Lijoi. About quirky life on the street, it was sung with warmth and caring for those mentioned, a pleasant ending.
There are two additional performances scheduled each with a different guest: November 26 will have Kerry Dowling joining the featured singers and Brad Peloquin will be joining them on Novemer 27th. The shows start at 8:30 at Club Cafe on Columbus Avenue.