Cotuit Center for the Arts "A Grand Night for Singing" Shines with Broadway Charm
By: Sam Houghton, February 22, 2013
Alan Trugman - The cast for "A Grand Night For Singing" delivers the knock out blow.
If you're passionate Valentine’s Day emotions have already faded, “A Grand Night for Singing,” now running at Cotuit Center for the Arts, will ignite the old spark again.
Without the traditional narrative a play or musical might have, the production unfolds with the presentation of 36 songs, all written by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II, from 11 of their Broadway musicals. The delivery of the 36 songs will have you falling in love, if not with a significant other, than with the singers that bring the production to life.
To much fanfare, “A Grand Night” opened on Valentine’s Day at Cotuit and ended with two standing ovations, the audience enamored with the production. Some attendees could be heard whistling and singing as they filed back to their cars.
The audience had been captured by the skill with which the actors executed the songs. The cast, made up of five local actors all with day jobs, were able to forgo the community theater cliché and transport their audience to the glamour of Broadway. Melinda Gallant, director for the production, deserves a hand.
The theme is love with all the songs presenting a different perspective of the emotion, whether through humor in “Don’t Marry Me,” a somber tone in “We Kiss in A Shadow,” giddiness and nostalgia on “Surrey with the Fringe on Top,” or wonderment in “Some Enchanted Evening.” A cabaret-style theater with a cocktail bar and tables enhance the theme.
All five actors were excellent, but the young and nimble Laura Shea stole the spotlight. Her dancing in numbers like “It’s Me” or “This Nearly Was Mine” and her ability to express the themes of the songs through her movements were impressive. “It’s Me” had her skirt flying, her arms precisely flailing, and her heels kicking all in time with the music; it was dynamic in that it appeared improvised and raw, but remained controlled and in-tempo. Her singing, despite her small frame, was pronounced and loud at times and soft in others.
Elisabeth Moore, while less classically trained as a singer, gave the most personality to her songs. She was able to deliver the higher notes with vibrancy and ease, projecting well beyond the back row of the theater. Sometimes her voice was weaker on the lower notes like on “If I Loved You,” but mostly, her singing held a hint of a country brashness on top of the Broadway flavor, adding some depth to the production.
As for the three others, Stephen Colella, in a soft and deep voice, held perfect pitch throughout the show. On “This Nearly Was Mine,” a more somber and thoughtful number, the singer made the song a highlight of the night.
Anthony Teixeira, with a young and booming voice, was impressive on songs like “Surrey.” In “Don’t Marry Me,” his facial gestures and actions were well done and appropriate, singing “If you want attractive babies... and I’m saying this because I love you... don’t marry me.”
“Something Wonderful,” sung by Maria Marasco, an opera-like singer, was an obvious highlight in the show. Her voice quivered and hung on the high notes for impressive moments of time, her soft but projecting voice extending over the still audience.
The show will run through March 3 taking place Thursdays through Saturdays at 8 PM and Sundays at 2 PM. Tickets are $25, $22 for seniors, $20 for members and $15 for students. There will also be a special performance on Saturday, March 9, at the Sandwich Town Hall starting at 7 PM. Tickets for this show are $15.