Some Enchanted Evening: The Songs of Rodgers & Hammerstein | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Some Enchanted Evening: The Songs of Rodgers & Hammerstein 

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SOME ENCHANTED EVENING: THE SONGS OF RODGERS & HAMMERSTEIN, Drury Lane Theatre Evergreen Park. A perennial favorite, this delightful revue includes both instant winners and acquired tastes, balancing the familiarity of "There Is Nothin' Like a Dame" against rarities from Allegro and Me and Juliet. James Harms's revival opens with the six performers removing props from a steamer trunk, engaging in a charming preshow competition. The show proper begins with the ensemble, in white formal wear and backed up by two pianos, creating "Something Wonderful," as the song goes.

There's no thematic order or conversational byplay in Jeffrey Moss's salute to Rodgers and Hammerstein. Why bother? These songs create their own context. When Ann McMann belts out "Love Look Away," it becomes the lament of any abandoned lover; Kristen Behrendt lifts "I Have Dreamed" to operatic intensity. Occasionally a selection takes on a new slant, as when Sean Allan Krill sings the nuns' number, "Maria," as a ballad of frustrated love. "Sixteen Going on Seventeen" seems bittersweet rather than cheerful when sung by Bridget Crawford and an older confidante, McMann.

But mostly these 37 offerings are performed straight and true. The rich results can be as varied as James Rank's alternately triumphant and defensive "Soliloquy" and Kenneth Nichols's heartfelt "This Nearly Was Mine." The choreography is a bit weak, both in conception and execution, and miking isn't always required in this intimate space. But no question, it was a grand night for singing.

--Lawrence Bommer

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