On Sunday evening March 4, Bruce Kimmel presented the 19th Kritzerland show, the third and final one at Sterling's Upstairs at Vitello's. Commencing April 1, Kritzerland will continue at Sterling's in its new venue Sterling's Upstairs at The Federal. Sunday's show was a salute to the lyrics of Ira Gershwin, boasting the glorious talents of musical director Shelly Markham and singers Shannon Warne, Damon Kirsche,Jane Noseworthy, Melody Hollis and Lauren Leigh Barker. Special guest was the remarkable Andrea Marcovicci whose grande acting style really sets a song apart and makes it a sizzlingly unique experience on a cabaret stage. Kimmel told delightful anecdotes about Gershwin's collaborations with brother George Gershwin, Kurt Weill, Jerome Kern, Burton Lane, Harold Arlen, Harry Warren, among other musical composers. The program offered well known songs, but with an emphasis on those lesser known tunes that are really little gems, totally worth remembering. Thanks to Kimmel and Kritzerland for keeping all this wonderful music alive and vibrant.
Highlights of the evening included: "Tchaikovsky" a song performed so brilliantly by Danny Kaye on film, sung here with arresting skill and intelligence by the remarkable 13 year-old Melody Hollis. Other standouts were: "Long Ago and Far Away" from the movie Cover Girl sung gloriously by Warne, "The Saga of Jenny" an almost melodramatic piece conveyed with such rich artistry by the one and only Marcovicci, a thrilling "By Strauss" performed by the equally thrilling vocal prowess of Kirsche, a beautiful medley of "Someone to Watch Over Me" and "The Man I Love" by the lovely Noseworthy, a pretty "My Ship" by the alluring Barker, a gorgeous duet of "In Our United State" by Kirsche and Warne, a sublime "Bidin' My Time" sung in perfect tempo by Hollis, and the upbeat rhythm finale "I Got Rhythm" and "Fascinatin' Rhythm" by Hollis accompanied by her dad Steve Hollis at the piano. The evening concluded as always with a fun audience sing along with " 's Wonderful".
These Kritzerland shows - this is my seventh - are so entertaining and enriching. What could be a boring musical history class is a thoroughly engaging experience thanks to Bruce Kimmel and his merry band of musical geniuses. Don't miss an evening honoring lyricist Bob Merrill - remember Funny Girl, Sugar and hit tunes like "How Much Is That Doggie In the Window?" - at Sterling's Upstairs at The Federal on Lankershim Blvd across from the El Portal Theatre in NoHo on April 1!
Photo Credit: Daniel G. Lam