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Theatre Review (LA Area): I Love a Piano (an Irving Berlin Revue) at Plummer Auditorium in Fullerton

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A revue is only as good as its components. In the case of 3D Theatricals’ I Love a Piano, the components were first rate. The revue featured the songs of America’s songsmith Irving Berlin, over 50 of them. You need a great band to play these songs and under the leadership of Daniel Thomas the band plays everything from Dixieland to gorgeous ballads, representing the amazing spectrum of Berlin’s music. I add to this the sound design by Julie Ferrin. So often in this sort of venue the sound can become distorted as it travels through the speakers but not so here. The sound was clear and alive.

The next layer of expertise is the singing talent. Director David Lamoureux and choreographer Kami Seymour have assembled some of the best performers in Southern California, several with Broadway credits. The women were Gail Bennett, Cynthia Ferrer, and Adriana Lyons. The male cast consisted of relative newcomer James Blashaw and two veteran song-and-dance men: Eddie Korbich, and California’s answer to Fred Astaire, David Engel. It was particularly nice to see David dancing again after a rough time with back surgery, but he was as smooth as ever.

Cynthia Ferrer gave us her best Ethel Merman (she performs a one-woman show as Merman). Newcomer Blashaw particularly impressed, as he was able to sing and dance with the best of them. All of them, of course, had to dance, especially tap dancing which the audience loved.

Director Lamoureux kept things moving and jumping. The revue was divided into various sections representing various times in Berlin’s career. This included his Broadway endeavors (Annie Get Your Gun), his movie music (White Christmas), and his songs for the stage door canteen from World War II (“Gee I Wish I Was Back in the Army”). Altogether this was a highly enjoyable theatrical experience. While the run is over in Fullerton you can still catch the show Sept 28-30 at the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center.

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