Everyone loves the music of George Gershwin but some are not familiar with the contributions of his lyricist brother Ira, who collaborated on many of George’s songs. Ira also wrote words for other composers too, like Kurt Weill, Jerome Kern, Harry Warren, Vernon Duke, Harold Arlen, and Burton Lane. Once again the inimitable Bruce Kimmel has brought together a group of superior singers to present an informative, delightful, musically satisfying evening of song.
The performers were a mixture of regulars and guests. They included Shannon Warne, Jane Noseworthy, Damon Kirche, Lauren Leigh Baker, Melody Hollis, and special guest Andrea Marcovicci. Shannon Warne sang a mash-up of “I Can’t Be Bothered Now” and “Kickin The Clouds Away.” Next she sang “Long Ago and Far Away,” a beautiful song by Jerome Kern from Cover Girl; “The Man That Got Away” a showstopper by Harold Arlen; and finally a glorious duet with the phenomenal Damon Kirche, “In Our United States” by Burton Lane from the obscure Give The Girl A Break. You can always depend on a few surprises at a Kritzerland concert.
Jane Noseworthy sang only three numbers. First was “I Was Doing All Right” from the Goldwyn Follies by both Gershwins. Then she did a wonderful version of “There is No Music” by Harry Warren. Her last number was a mash-up of two major Gershwin hits, “Someone To Watch Over Me” and “The Man I Love.”
Lauren Leigh Barker Sang the fantastic “My Ship” by Kurt Weill from Lady in The Dark. Next she enthralled us with “Oh My Oh My” by Arthur Francis, a made-up name for Ira when he wrote both words and music for Barkleys of Broadway. She concluded with “That Moment of Moments” by Vernon Duke for Ziegfeld Follies of 1936.
Melody Hollis, the marvelous 13-year-old going on 14, sang the impossible “Tchaikovsky” made famous by Danny Kaye. Next she sang the delightful “Biding My Time” from Girl Crazy. Last she did a mash-up of “I Got Rhythm” and “Fascinatin’ Rhythm” accompanied by her dad Steve Hollis.
Damon Kirche, whom I had only had the pleasure of seeing in a book musical, sang gloriously “Liza” from the Jolson Story and “By Strauss” from An American in Paris.
Andrea Marcovicci was a special guest; she is one of the leading proponents of cabaret singing. She performed “The Saga of Jenny” from Lady in the Dark. She really knows how to act a song.
This evening of Ira Gershwin songs was music-directed by Shelly Markham. This is the last Kritzerland to be performed at Vitello’s. Next month a new club will open called Sterling’s Upstairs at The Federal (opposite the El Portal) with a new Kritzerland performance of the music of Bob Merrill featuring Lanie Kazan. Don’t miss it!