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Total Theater Review: Broadway Holiday

December 21, 2010

"Five Broadway stalwarts belting out hit show tunes (plus a few Yuletide faves). It was all very relaxed, smoothly flowing and entertaining -- just as Berg promised."

"We came out here from New York to have fun," said Neil Berg, co-creator of the revue, Broadway Holiday, now playing through Jan 2, 2011 at L.A.'s Geffen Playhouse. Berg spoke from his piano perch during the course of the show, which features five Broadway stalwarts belting out hit show tunes (plus a few Yuletide faves). It was all very relaxed, smoothly flowing and entertaining -- just as Berg promised.

The singers were Carter Calvert, best-known for Ain't Nuthin' But the Blues; Jeffry Denman (White Christmas); Rita Harvey (Fiddler on the Roof); Marc Kudisch (The Apple Tree); and Ivan Rutherford (over 2000 performances as Valjean in Les Miz).

They sang songs from such shows as Fiddler, Mame, West Side Story, Cats and Singing in the Rain, to name just a few. Mostly they sang solo or in duets, concentrating on familiar material, an exception being "South Park's" "Lonely Jew," a comic ditty (sung by Kudisch) about a Jew overwhelmed by all the Jesus commotion at Christmas. Another highlight was Harvey's rendition of "Memory" from Cats -- "the only good song in the show," she quipped. Although its staging and decor are simple, Broadway Holiday can boast of sumptuous (but uncredited) lighting and costume design. Berg's three-piece band provides the musical engine that powers the proceedings.

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phone: 510-206-6111
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