Berlin to Babylon: The Songs of Kurt Weill and Freidrich Hollaender | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Berlin to Babylon: The Songs of Kurt Weill and Freidrich Hollaender



One of the prizes of this year's Fringe festival is west-coast singer Cameron Silver, who re-creates the feeling of a 30s German cabaret in his fine performance Berlin to Babylon: The Songs of Kurt Weill and Friedrich Hollaender. Like Michael Feinstein, whose recordings have introduced the music of such composers as George and Ira Gershwin and Irving Berlin to post-baby boom audiences, Silver connects to the music of a past era and brings Weill's and Hollaender's songs to life with a passionate intensity. What makes this such an important and long-needed show is Silver's investment in and presentation of the history of his subjects. Though Weill's "Mack the Knife" has been recorded more than any other of his songs, his work preceding his escape to America, fleeing the Nazis, isn't nearly as well known. Similarly, Hollaender's later work as a composer for Hollywood films pales in comparison with what he wrote in his homeland. Aided by pianist Steven Applegate, Silver celebrates the craft of these two German-Jewish composers and their narrow escape. Organic Lab, Thursday, June 20, 7 PM; Saturday, 2:30 PM. $8-$10.

--Gabrielle S. Kaplan

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