Thursday, June 20, 2013

MGM at the NAC Completes a Cycle

Ten seasons ago Those Glorious MGM Musicals debuted at the National Arts Centre.  I was in the audience attending my first symphony concert.  The rest, as they say, is history.  Thursday June 20 Jack Everly was back on the podium, at the venue, and with the concert that hooked me.

With each viewing there are different stories and new things to see and hear.  The content of this program was the same as the Naples Philharmonic version, except with a new guy in the song and dance man roll, David Elder replaced Nick Adams.

David Elder
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David's first number "Steppin' Out With My Baby" was entertaining if not as athletic or high flying as Nick's.  Although I enjoyed David's interpretation of Groucho Marx's "Lydia Oh Lydia" more.  His "Singin' in the Rain" at the end of the program was joyous and always one of my favourites.  The others in the cast were Nick Fitzer, Scott Hogsed, Kathy Voytko, and Dan'yelle Williamson.

Let's see, new stories from Everly this time around were in the introduction to a medley from "Meet Me in St. Louis".  Originally the casting was to be Gene Kelly and June Allison, however when Kelly broke his ankle and the role went to Fred Astaire they re-cast the leading lady as well.   Judy Garland was deemed a better fit for Astaire.

The final piece in the opening half was a "Hollywood Hit Parade" medley which featured "You Stepped Out a Dream" from Ziegfeld Girl; "Easy to Love" which I'm familiar with from Anything Goes, however was introduced in the musical Born to Dance and allowed the orchestra to show their skills free from vocal additions; "Wonderful Day" from Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, "Most Unusual Day" from A Date with Judy; "San Francisco" which was sung by the choir and from the movie by the same name; "Be My Love" from The Toast of New Orleans, was the first song sung by Nick in a powerful tenor voice; "Get Happy" from Summer Stock the Garland classic, was again performed beautifully by Dan'yelle.  It concluded with "Sing Hallelujah" from Hallelujah! and had costuming direct from patriotic America, by design or not I don't know (the ladies wore lovely red and blue ball gowns while the gentlemen were dashing in black tuxes).  It wasn't quite the "360 hits" mentioned in Everly's intro, but it covered a lot of the wonderful classics.

Peter Webster
Following Kathy and Dan'yelle's "Can't Help Lovin' That Man" duet, Jack took a moment to say how fitting a piece that was because a 41 year veteran of the orchestra was retiring.  Violist Peter Webster was coaxed to his feet to take a bow while the audience enthusiastically recognized him for his contributions.

The "That's Entertainment" encore, is perhaps a piece that's growing a bit thin with entertainers.  Jack started by saying how it was Kathy's favourite song so they had to include it in the program.  Meanwhile she's motioning that it's not her favourite at all.  I enjoyed it for the conclusion of "Hip Hooray, the Canadian way..."  It was a nice touch.

With that a cycle of sorts has been completed for me, going back to the same show having spent a wonderful 10 seasons of experiencing all orchestras have to offer.  I have no intentions of stopped now, there's always much more to hear!  Many thanks to the orchestra and program who started it all.

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