Tacoma Musical Playhouse followed up their Full Monty performance in May with an encore presentation of The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber in early June. It was well received and would have been worth a trip in the snow if we could have just made it to a main road for the original date in February.
The weather upset our schedule. Personally, my wife Peg and I were snowed in for a couple of days with a tree down and a driveway with about a foot of snow covering it.
An orchestra of fourteen musicians led by Jeffrey Stvrtecky played in full view on stage and sweet and powerful sounds to back-up a dozen plus performers. We recognized both faces and voices! The four month delay only made the evening better.
At intermission we had a chance to talk with our friends Diane and Fred Matthaei who were there enjoying the performance a second time.
Although I enjoyed “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina” from Evita and sung by Beth Lazerou. I lamented the overlooking of my favorite song from the musical, “Another Suitcase, Another Hall.” I barely had the title out of my mouth when an emphatic “YES!” came from Diane. Actually, I’ve never heard the song performed, but it’s one of my favorite pieces to play on the piano. It’s beautiful tune and the lyrics are so poignant, “I don’t expect my love affairs to last for long, Never fool myself that my dreams will come true.” Beth’s “Argentina” was fantastic as was “Buenos Aires.” This was her first show at TMP. Beth, don’t be a stranger. Come on back!
“Light at the End of the Tunnel” from Starlight Express provided some excitement. This was the first time I had heard the disco era presentation. Russell Campbell came in like a locomotive with two dancers in roller skates being the railroad cars in tow. The narrow stage appeared to be a little limiting. One skater appeared a little less sure of herself than the other, but it was the other one who slipped and fell on stage. She was up in a flash with only her vanity bruised. I applauded for both.
We loved the male quartet singing “No Matter What” from Whistle Down the Wind and the finale of “Love Changes Everything” from Aspects of Love. It was a perfect ending piece.
Our favorite performer and series of songs were by Biffy Binkley in her TMP debut with numbers from Phantom of the Opera. Biffy is a graduate of Pacific Lutheran University and holds a B.M. in vocal performance. I don’t know what high note she hit, but it brought down the house.
Peg really enjoyed “With One Look” from Sunset Boulevard as sung by Diane Bozzo. Peg enjoyed both the costume as well as the presentation and voice. We had seen Sunset at the Paramount in Seattle about twenty years ago with Petula Clark playing the Norma Desmond role. I had forgotten the song, but I can still see the blocking of one scene. The Gloria Swanson character drew a crowd of people like a magnet as she sang. You could barely see the movement, but you could certainly feel the attraction. That same allure and charisma was evident and felt by the audience. Sharing is everything. Thank you, Tacoma Musical Playhouse. Be sure to check out what they have coming up next – tmp.org
“Andrew Lloyd Webber is the composer of some of the world’s best-known musicals. When Sunset Boulevard joined School Of Rock, Cats and The Phantom Of The Opera on Broadway in 2017, Andrew became the only person to equal the record set in 1953 by Rodgers and Hammerstein with four Broadway shows running concurrently. Other musicals he has composed include Aspects Of Love, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita and Love Never Dies.” – andrewlloydwebber.com