Press and Media

December 21, 2010

Creator/musical director/producer/accompanist Neil Berg has assembled a rich garland of Broadway and movie showstoppers that, whether you call them old chestnuts or evergreens, are reliable crowd-pleasers. He's thrown in a choice selection of Christmas songs and recruited five seasoned Broadway pros to perform them: Carter Calvert, Jeffrey Denman, Rita Harvey, Marc Kudisch and Ivan Rutherford. All have fine voices, and the skill and savvy to deploy them to maximum effect. Harvey gives us a spectacular "I Could Have Danced All Night" and, with Rutherford, a full-bloodedly theatrical rendition of "The Phantom of the Opera." Rutherford eloquently performs "Something's Coming," from West Side Story and "Bring Him Home," from Les Miserables. Calvert offers a poignant "Memory," from Cats, and provides a rousing first-act finale with "Don't Rain on My Parade." Kudisch serves up "Where Is the Life That Late I Led," "If I Were a Rich Man," "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch" and, with Denman, a hilariously competitive "Oh Hanukah-O Christmas Tree." Denman calls on his nimble dancing as well as vocal skills in "Give My Regards to Broadway" and "Singin' in the Rain" and delivers a wonderfully mellow "White Christmas." And producer Berg performs a lush piano treatment of "Carol of the Bells." Geffen Playhouse, 10886 Le Conte Ave., Wstwd.; schedule varies; check online for information. Through Jan. 2. (310) 208-5454, (Neal Weaver)