Sharon's performing a show other than "Red Hot Mama," "Songs to Offend," "Anthems" :


Sharon in someone else's show:

Reviewed by William Wolf: William Wolf Entertainment Guide


It was an inspired idea for the last in this season's "Broadway by the Year" series that concentrated on 1964 to highlight "Funny Girl" with a female impersonator sending up Barbra Streisand and pay tribute to "Hello, Dolly!" with another female impersonator satirizing Carol Channing. The turns by Steven Brinberg and Richard Skipper respectively brought a tremendous helping of sheer fun to the evening while also honoring songs from the shows. Brinberg's Streisand, look, mannerisms and diva qualities in tact, was priceless, as was Skipper's exuberant Channing, especially when wearing the elaborate feathery headdress and mimicking her in the "Hello, Dolly!" title number.

In all, the evening was an enjoyable wrap-up, with the singing talent once again key to delivering quality and abetted by the witty and informative commentary and introductions by Scott Siegel, the creator, writer and host of the show. The songs, whether poignant or comic, were delivered in grand style by an ensemble that included Tom Andersen, Liz Callaway, Barbara Fasano, Alix Korey, Sharon McNight and Craig Rubano, in addition to the aforementioned specialty performances. ( I was also impressed recently with McNight's one woman show "Red Hot Moma," in which she plays show business legend Sophie Tucker.) As we've come to expect from the other productions in the series, an added highlight was the accompanying music of Ross Patterson and his Little Big Band.

The year 1964 had its blockbuster shows, including "Fiddler on the Roof," and others that had substantial runs without such exalted status. But there were shows that were less successful yet still yielded numbers worth rediscovering, and their presentation, introduced with Siegel's pithy comments, helped make the evening one of discovery for fans of Broadway musicals. A favorite show of mine that went nowhere was the underrated "Anyone Can Whistle," and it was wise to include that as a source.

Among the 1964 Broadway shows covered, some relatively hot, some not, were "Bajour," "Fade-Out-Fade-In," "Foxy" "Golden Boy," "High Spirits, " "Oh What a Lovely War!," "Rugantino," "Something More," and "What Makes Sammy Run."

I could have done without the elaborate wedding send-up inspired by "Fiddler on the Roof," which I thought was a bit much, complete with the traditional breaking of the glass at the end. The company, including Siegel wearing a yarmulke, got a bit carried away with that one, but the audience seemed to like it, so who knows?

The important thing is that the series has established itself so professionally and entertainingly that it deserves to return next season, and there is every indication that the public is responding well. Since there are a lot of years jammed with Broadway musicals, the opportunities are certainly there, and Siegel and company have been doing it right. Reviewed June 10, 2002 at Town Hall, 123 West 43rd Street.



Sharon in someone else's show:
Variety Review

Posted: Wed., Jun. 12, 2002, 4:26pm PT
Broadway by the Year: 1964
(Town Hall; 1,500 seats; $35 top)
A Town Hall presentation produced, created, written and hosted by Scott Siegel. Directed by Robert Armin. Musical director, Ross Patterson. Consultant, Michael Lavine. Reviewed June 10, 2002.
Performers: Tom Andersen, Liz Callaway, Barbara Fasano, Craig Rubano, Alix Korey, Sharon McNight, Steven Brinberg, Richard Skipper.
Musicians: Don Falzone, Eric Halvorson.

In its second season, "Broadway by the Year" has hit its peak. A capacity aud entered Town Hall through a crowd hungry for extra tickets Monday night. Kudos are in order for producer Scott Siegel, who concluded season two with a focus on 1964, the year that produced such remarkable tuners as "Fiddler on the Roof," "Hello, Dolly!," "What Makes Sammy Run?" "High Spirits" and "Anyone Can Whistle."

Sharon McNight provided the evening's triumph, turning in a brassy perf as sassy blonde Sophie Tucker in "Red Hot Mama," which reopens at the York Theater Co. on June 25. McNight, in baby-doll garb, re-created the Shirley Temple spoof from "Fade in, Fade Out." Number is a deliciously irreverent Julie Styne-Betty Comden-Adolph Green spin on Hollywood child stars.

But it didn't stop there. As a seductive Gypsy seer in "Bajour," McNight sang a salty "Mean." Best of all was her daring turn as Fanny Brice, stepping aside from the mike to proclaim, "I'm the greatest star," an assertive affirmation from "Funny Girl," the Ziegfeld star's bio musical, and another Styne bull's-eye. McNight also sang "Love Look in My Window," a song Jerry Herman wrote for Ethel Merman's turn as Dolly Gallagher Levi.

Craig Rubano, Barbara Fasano and Liz Callaway added slivers of dialogue in a vest-pocket medley of songs from "What Makes Sammy Run?" Composer Ervin Drake was on hand to cheer Rubano's crooning take on "A Room Without Windows."

There were many other delights, especially from Callaway, who sang Sondheim's "There Won't Be Trumpets" and joined cabaret singer Tom Andersen for a playful duet of Johnny Mercer's "Talk to Me Baby" from "Foxy," a Yukon version of Ben Jonson's "Volpone."

Fasano offered a name-dropping peek into the hereafter with "Home Sweet Heaven," from the musical based on Noel Coward's "Blithe Spirit." The song finds a ghostly widow cavorting with the likes of Oscar Wilde and Enrico Caruso in a paradise where "Joan of Arc sparks the dullest parties." The idea was all done long before in Cole Porter's "Out of This World," as "They Couldn't Compare to You," but it's still a heavenly flight.

An overwrought Andersen sang the Sondheim title tune "Anyone Can Whistle." Alix Korey was off the mark with a shrill, badly miked perf of "The Music That Makes Me Dance," from "Funny Girl." The song soared to the upper balcony, but fell short of warmth and finesse. Blame the sound design.

The dignity of landmark musicals "Funny Girl" and "Hello, Dolly!" was unfortunately trivialized by drag impersonations of the show's original stars. It was a cheap shot.

There was, as always, admirable musical support from Ross Patterson and his rhythm section, which offered an especially buoyant "I Had a Ball." The illness of Norm Lewis forced the cancellation of songs from "Golden Boy," but the season was so bountiful with good tunes that producer Siegel promises an addenda to 1964 in a forthcoming program.


Sharon in someone else's show: