Heroes and Villains

Heroes and Villains

Heroes and Villains
Starring Michael Foster
Musical Direction by Chris Leavy
February 17, 2016
Spotlight Cabaret Series
Winter Park Playhouse, Winter Park, FL

Some new faces are sneaking into the WPPH Spotlight Cabaret series, and tonight we meet Michael Foster for the first time in this lobby. Mr. Foster is a stunning basso with a resume that leans towards the operatic heavy. While he hopes for good guy roles let’s face facts: Emperor Ming was MUCH more interesting than dense old Flash Gordon. The show opens with some kicking show tunes: “Luck be a Lady” from “Guys and Dolls”, “Man of La Mancha” from… that Spanish Play of the same name, and a fabulous duet version of “Master of the House” from “Les Mis” with his friend Andrea Cami. The pair met during the early days of “The Holy Land Experience”; that’s one experience I have yet to put on my bucket list.

Mr. Foster is fundamentally an opera guy; he gives us a song or two from “Don Giovanni” and “Figaro”; these are done a cappella as his microphone developed an annoying buzz the sound tech couldn’t cure. After a short discussion about the politics of pursuing an advanced degree in opera he went for his strong suit: Disney Hero songs. We visit with “Pocahontas” in “Just around the River Bend”, interrogate “Beauty and the Beast” with “Me!” and take a swim with “The Little Mermaid” contemplating “Poor Unfortunate Souls.” While Mr. Foster once appeared in “The Sound of Music” he only got to play Frantz, the Butler with No Song. I thought: “What a shame!” The evening wrapped up with one more set of Broadway standards: “South Pacific” gave him “Some Enchanted Evening;” “Carousel” added “If I Loved You” and “The Pajama Game” dealt in “There Once Was A Man.” All were satisfying but not as much as his encore of the always impressive “Impossible Dream.” As they say: “Always leave ’em begging for more.” Tonight was great “Greatest Hits” evening only marred by some wonky electronics.

For more information on Winter Park Playhouse, please visit http://www.winterparkplayhouse.org

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