Tuesday, March 25, 2014

theatre review WHAT HE KNEW ABOUT WOMEN: THE MUSIC OF CY COLEMAN, Phoenix Theatre, March 8

Debby Rosenthal, Molly Lajoie and Shana Bousard
Click here to read my full review of the new musical review What He Knew About Women: The Music of Cy Coleman, that had a workshop run at the Phoenix Theatre during their Hormel Festival of New Plays and Musicals.

"Composer Cy Coleman had a prolific career, not just in musical theatre but also in jazz. He wrote the music for eleven Broadway shows, including the smash Tony winning musicals Sweet Charity, Barnum, City of Angels and The Will Rogers Follies, and his pop hits include "Witchcraft" and "The Best Is Yet to Come." All of this happened after he was already a successful jazz musician, performing and recording with his own jazz trio. With a vast catalog of material it is hard to believe there haven't been more revues of Coleman's music. The Best Is Yet to Come was a nicely constructed revue that played Off-Broadway in 2011. That show was directed by David Zippel, who wrote the lyrics for City of Angels. I'm happy to report that a new revue called What He Knew About Women: The Music of Cy Coleman that recently received a production as part of the Phoenix Theatre's Hormel Festival of New Plays and Musicals is a nicely constructed piece that, with a few tweaks, could have a long future life.

At a talkback, the creative team spoke about future ideas for this revue and also asked the audience for feedback. The ideas mentioned included adding bass and drums to lend a jazz trio sound, making it more in line with Coleman's jazz background, as well as to possibly adding more songs to make the show run longer than the current 45 minutes. Both of those ideas are highly recommended, along with creating a clearer theme in order for the songs to land even better, and adding more humor, perhaps using some of Coleman's more comical numbers.  I enjoyed What He Knew About Women: The Music of Cy Coleman, especially the use of some of his lesser known songs and the splendid vocal arrangements that many of the songs received. With just a few tweaks, some additional material, and a slightly more focused theme this could become an even better revue that pays tribute to a very skilled composer.
What He Knew About Women: The Music of Cy Coleman ran March 7th and 8th at the Phoenix Theatre at 100 E. McDowell Road in Phoenix. Tickets for other Phoenix Theatre productions can be purchased at phoenixtheatre.com or by calling (602) 254-2151


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