I Love A Piano

I Love A Piano

I Love A Piano

Winter Park Playhouse

Irving Berlin lived 100 years and wrote around 1500 songs and twenty musicals. I doubt you have heard them all; I certainly haven’t. But Winter Park Playhouse makes a brave effort to push us along here. In this semi-chronological retrospective, the only tune a recognized in the first twenty minutes was “Alexander’s Ragtime Band” (led by Kari Ringer.) But I did discover the troubling “Snooky Ookums,” not that I’m adding it to my Pandora; I’m just not that cool. But also heard the impressive and sacrilegious “Pack Up Your Songs and Go to the Devil.”

Once we get to Berlin’s output in The Depression, things perk up. “Blue Skies” (Nick Drivas and Meredeth Pughe) promises a brighter future, “Puttin’ on the Ritz” now requires all of us to least mouth the “Young Frankenstein” version, and “Cheek To Cheek” brings us fond memories of Fred Astaire and the whole tidal wave of late Depression era movies showing us how the rich spent their money. By WW2 Berlin hit his stride and gave us a whole song book of military life numbers from “How I Hate To Get Up In The Morning” to “I’m Getting Tired So I Can Sleep” (Larry Alexander) our unofficial national anthem “God Bless America.” There’s even a seriously sad song about a war widow with children to feed in “Suppertime.” As we near the end of the evening, Roy Alan finds a solid yellow suit for “Easter Parade.” Another popular show of the era “Annie Get Your Gun” gives us Lauren Culver belting “There’s No Business Like Show Business.” “Anything You Can Do,” and “The Girl that I Mary” all sound excellent as well. Good music, multiple costume changes and our favorite O-Town backing band make this a wonderful celebration of America’s most prolific composer.


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