Baritones Unbound | Royal George Theatre Center | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader

Baritones Unbound The Short List (Theater) Image Closing (Theater and Galleries)

When: Wednesdays-Sundays. Continues through Jan. 3 2016

Noted singers Nathan Gunn, Mark Delavan, and Marc Kudisch star in this informal celebration of the baritone in classical and popular music. The baritone range is located between tenor and bass—"between heaven and earth," as Kudisch (who conceived and cocreated the show) notes. In story and song, the men trace the evolution of "the uncommon voice of the common man" in selections from opera (Mozart, Verdi, Wagner), operetta (Gilbert and Sullivan), American musical theater (Rodgers and Hammerstein, Lerner and Loewe, Porter, Sondheim, Jerry Herman), and the Great American Songbook (Irving Berlin's "White Christmas"). There's even a smidgen of rock 'n' roll: Elvis Presley's "It's Now or Never," in a medley with the 1960 hit's source, the 1898 Neapolitan song "'O Sole Mio." Gunn's creamy, well-placed voice, connection to the lyrics, and casually charismatic stage presence set him apart from his colleagues at the opening matinee I attended. Kudisch's upper-register nasality and Delavan's sometimes foggy tone produced an uneven blend and some out-of-tune harmonies in the group numbers, and Delavan's rendition of the great "Lonely Room" aria from Oklahoma! substituted a showoffy and dramatically unearned alternate ending for the one Richard Rodgers wrote, reminding me of Wagner's famous phrase "effects without causes." (But the audience ate it up.) Directed by David Dower, this Boston-born touring show features musical direction by pianist Timothy Splain. —Albert Williams

Price: $60


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