Some Enchanted Evening: The Songs of Rodgers & Hammerstein | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Some Enchanted Evening: The Songs of Rodgers & Hammerstein


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SOME ENCHANTED EVENING: THE SONGS OF RODGERS & HAMMERSTEIN, Prologue Theatre Productions, at the Theatre Building. If not quite an enchanted evening, Prologue's anthology of songs is still a worthwhile night. Sublime Americana, these justly beloved offerings from Carousel, South Pacific, The King and I, and even the flop Allegro create their own playful dialogue in Jeffrey Moss's witty revue. And Allan Chambers's staging serviceably showcases its five young performers, whose enthusiasm atones for imprecise phrasing and the occasional failure to project or amuse.

Alongside such superb waltzes as "A Grand Night for Singing" and "Out of My Dreams" is a rarity like Judd Fry's surprisingly tender "Lonely Room," cut from Oklahoma!; Erik Friedman sings it with a raw despair. Likewise The Sound of Music's usually cloying "Maria" as warbled by Kevin Pease works as a two-timing ballad.

Inevitably a revue that packs 40 musical numbers into 90 minutes will rip them out of context. But here it's a special shame, since Hammerstein and Rodgers so carefully crafted their songs to come straight from the story. As shaped by musical director Anita Greenberg, the best moments here are when the ensemble launches into medleys or digs into the material. Consider the way Amy Lyn McDonald, Sarah Sheperd, and Morgan Sturges belt out "I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair." If not the best introduction to Rodgers and Hammerstein, Some Enchanted Evening will remind rabid devotees why they adore the stuff.

--Lawrence Bommer

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