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Cabaret Review (LA): Toonful from Bruce Kimmel at Sterling’s Upstairs at Viltello’s

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Bruce Kimmel, who knows everything there is to know about show business, has relocated his Kritzerland concerts to Michael Sterling’s Upstairs at Vitello’s. He will be presenting these concerts on the first Sunday of every month. The January 8th concert, called Toonful, was a celebration of music from animated films. Kimmel dedicated the evening to Michelle Nicastro, who’d recorded an album these songs with Kimmel (also called Toonful).

Kimmel brought along a talented group of artists, including Anneliese van der Pol, Juliana Hansen, Melody Hollis, Jane Noseworthy, and Susanne Blakeslee as well as musical director A.J.Robb. The evening opened with Anneliese singing “Belle” from Beauty and the Beast. She had been the last Belle on Broadway. The woman has a fabulous voice and also sang “Just Around The River Bend” from Pocahontas and “Second Star to the Right“ from Peter Pan.

Juliana Hansen entertained us with “Betty Boop,” “Somewhere Out There” from An American Tale, and the beautiful “Beauty and the Beast.” Melody Hollis, who is a very precocious 13, delighted us with “Part of the World” from Little Mermaid, a TV Toon Medley (Casper, Mighty Mouse, George of the Jungle, Flintstones, and Magilla the Gorilla). Melody (what an apt name) finished off her set with two songs from the Toy Story films, “When She Loved Me “ and “You’ve Got a Friend in Me.”

Susanne Blakeslee was the designated heavy of the evening, singing both “Poor Unfortunate Souls,” which is Ursula’s song in The Little Mermaid, and “Cruella De Ville “ (to which she is actually the official voice). She also sang “Our Town” from Cars.

Last but not least, Jane Noseworthy presented us with the ingénue songs, “A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes” from Cinderella, and two obscurities from Raggedy Anne and Andy, “What Do I See” and “Blue.” Both of these songs were lovely despite being from this box-office flop.

The performance ended with Kimmel himself singing “When You Wish Upon a Star.” The evening was whimsical but also a wonderful reminder that great songs can come from anywhere.

Kritzerland’s Toonful was performed at Sterling’s Upstairs at Vitello’s on January 8th.

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