“It’s A Grand Night For Singing” at Cotuit Center for the Arts
Cotuit Center for the Arts will present “It’s a Grand Night For Singing: The Music of Rodgers & Hammerstein” from February 14 through March 3. Performances are Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at 8 PM and Sunday at 2 PM.
Melinda Gallant, of Sandwich, directs this musical revue of 36 solos, duets, and medleys from 11 shows, including all the big hits: “Oklahoma,” “South Pacific,” “The Sound of Music,” “The King and I,” and “Carousel,” and some lesser-known shows like “Allegro,” “ Pipe Dream,” and “Me and Juliet.”
“A Grand Night for Singing” opened on Broadway in 1993; it was originally presented cabaret-style at Rainbow & Stars at the top of Rockefeller Center. The musical tells a story through song; there is no dialogue, but the tales are familiar: “boy meets girl; boy loses girl; girl meets boy; boy finds girl; some girls are left out; some find true love.”
On the program are such favorites as “Surrey with the Fringe on Top,” “Honey Bun,” “The Gentleman is a Dope,” “If I Loved You,” Kansas City,” “This Nearly Was Mine,” and “Some Enchanted Evening.”
“This is marvelous music, beloved by all,” said Gallant, “and the arrangements are superb, very rich, harmonious, and beautiful to listen to. The show opens on Valentine’s Day, perfect for this music and this setting. It is all about love—love of music, love of people.”
The theater will be arranged cabaret-style, with table-and-chair seating, and the performers will make good use of the space, involving the audience in the performance. Alcoholic beverages and other refreshments will be available for purchase.
Gallant is updating the show with contemporary costuming and using multimedia visual effects, sound effects, and creative lighting to enhance the show. A four-piece band, with piano, harp, reeds, and percussion, will accompany the singers.
Music direction is by Henry Buck and choreography is by Melissa Morin. The show stars Maria Marasco, Stephen Colella, Laura Shea, Elizabeth Moore, and Anthony Texiera.
“Henry Lee Buck, the music director is only 23, but he really knows his stuff,” said Gallant. Buck is a resident of Bourne and he will also be music director for the Falmouth Theatre Guild’s spring production of “The Music Man.”
This is Melissa Makarewicz Morin’s debut as a choreographer. “She has many innovative ideas and helping to make the show sparkle,” said Gallant.
Maria Marasco is the leading lady. A GED teacher at the county jail by day, Marasco is new to local community theater, but has, according to Gallant, “the most spectacular soprano voice—it just fills the theater. She is an unbelievably graceful actress, with great phrasing.”
The leading man is Stephen Colella, who is known to many local theater-goers for his numerous acting and singing roles. He has performed at the Barnstable Comedy Club, Falmouth Theatre Guild, Cape Rep, and other Cape venues.
“Steve is a fine singer and actor,” said Gallant. “He brings so much to each of the songs he sings and his comic “Honey Bun” is just a hoot.”
Laura Shea plays the soprano ingénue. She is also an accomplished dancer and will dance to the heartbreakingly beautiful ballad, “This Nearly Was Mine,” sung by Colella.
Elizabeth Moore sings many of the comic songs. “She has a wonderful singing voice, a good sense of timing, and a commanding stage presence,” said Gallant. Moore and Marasco are very funny together in the lighthearted complaint, “The Stepsisters’ Lament” from “Cinderella.”
Anthony Texiera is “an impressive young leading man,” according to Gallant, singing both serious and comic songs. “He has terrific stage presence and a good sense of comic timing. His voice is incredible,” said Gallant.
“Everyone in the show has a gorgeous voice,” said Gallant, “but the magic is in the way their voices blend together. The harmony is sublime, it will give you chills.”
Tickets are $25, $22 for seniors, $20 for member, and $15 for students.
Cotuit Center for the Arts is at 4404 Route 28 in Cotuit. For more information, and to purchase tickets, visit artsonthecape.org or call 508-428-0669.