My Heart Stood Still:
The Love Songs of Richard Rodgers
(Richard Rodgers Bio)
Special Guest, Brent Barrett
Paul Greenwood, Musical Director and Manager
Eric Michael Gillett, Director
Feinstein’s at Loews Regency
540 Park Avenue at 61st Street
New York, NY
Peter Cromarty & Co., Press
Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
September 15, 2008
Feinstein’s at Loews Regency is an elegant Club, named for its Proprietor, the renowned musical artist, Michael Feinstein. There’s a fine dinner menu, and drinks are specialties of each Loews Hotel, like “Park Avenue Jewel”, named for this Loews Regency, with Ketel One Citroen Vodka, Hiram Walker Blue Curacao, and Sweet & Sour Mix, and like “Philly Gin Blitz”, named for the Loews Philadelphia Hotel, with Hendrick’s Gin, Midori Melon Liqueur, and Sweet & Sour Mixed with Fresh Pineapple Juice. The room is dim and richly decorated, and the wait staff is old-world formal, giving the room a retro Supper-Club ambiance.
Anna Bergman and Special Guest, Brent Barrett, entertained the dinner and drink audience tonight, with Paul Greenwood at the piano. Anna Bergman has appeared at Lincoln Center’s “American Songbook” series, the Kennedy Center’s “Sondheim Celebration”, at Carnegie Hall, and at the White House. Brent Barrett has appeared on Broadway in “Chicago-The Musical”, in London in “Kiss me, Kate”, and at “City Center Encores!” in “The Pajama Game”. Tonight’s production of “My Heart Stood Still: The Love Songs of Richard Rodgers” included Rodger’s memorable music for renowned ballads like “Hello Young Lovers” from “King & I”, “If I Loved You” from “Carousel”, “Bewitched” from “Pal Joey”, and “Blue Moon”. Collaborative song credits are noted for Lorenz Hart, Oscar Hammerstein II, Martin Charnin, Stephen Sondheim, and films/television.
The program was introduced by Anna Bergman with “Lover”, from the 1932 Rodgers/Hart film, “Love Me Tonight”, and she quickly meshed the music into “Isn’t It Romantic?”. Ms. Bergman’s voice is flawless, clear, and refined, and her silky blue dress was sparkling in the lustrous lighting of the Club. She sings with impassioned fervor, hitting all the highest notes, a truly trained soprano. “Hello Young Lovers” also featured Paul Greenwood on piano, and he brought out the full measure of the melody, enhancing, not overwhelming Ms. Bergman’s presentation. Ms. Bergman gave a spoken tribute to Richard Rodgers, while Mr. Greenwood played softly on the keys. “Do I Hear a Waltz?” followed fluidly, and Mr. Greenwood added embedded excerpts of other songs in seamless sophistication.
One of Ms. Bergman’s clever stylistic devices was to excerpt one song to lead to another, as “Some Enchanted Evening” led into “Ten Minutes Ago”. In contrast, “If I Loved You” was sung with classical cadences, in soft pink-blue spotlights, and the bouquet of red roses added luxury to the mood. “The Golden Ram” from “Two by Two” started with Ms. Bergman’s glorious, nuanced vocals, before Brent Barrett joined her onstage, singing the full refrain. Ms. Bergman and Mr. Barrett sang duo in melancholy emotionality, with “Bewitched” and “No Other Love”. Mr. Barrett sat on a stool and charmed the audience with persuasive sensuality and vocal command. “Take the Moment” (Rodgers-Sondheim) included some theatrical flirting, as the rapturous duo took full advantage of the lyrical meanings.
Ms. Bergman, solo again, shared her new love story with the audience, introducing her fiancé, and showing off her ring. “My Heart Stood Still” and “Blue Moon” were sung to the object of her desire. There was palpable energy and honesty in the mesmerizing delivery of these two ballads. Brent Barrett soon returned, and encores and medleys ensued. Kudos to Anna Bergman and Brent Barrett for tonight’s exceptional performance, plus kudos to Paul Greenwood for piano accompaniment and arrangement of such diverse musical elements. Eric Michael Gillett directed this show, and Feinstein’s at Loews Regency was the perfect setting for such elegant music. You can click here for upcoming productions and events at Feinstein’s at Loews Regency.
Courtesy of Heather Sullivan
Courtesy of Brent Barrett
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