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Broadway Babies and More at Sondheim Salute


Impresario extraordinaire Ryan Black brought a showstopping array of talent together on August 17 at Cafe La Boheme in West Hollywood for a smashing cabaret evening of classic Stephen Sondheim tunes, Sondheim Summer: A Tribute to Stephen Sondheim. Last month, Black (pictured in front, surrrounded by Anne Fraser Thomas, Kristin Towers, Ashley Cuellar, Jen Malenke, and Momma behind them), celebrated the second year of his explosively successful 88s Cabaret, which now entertains diners and music lovers roughly once per month at La Boheme. He outdid himself this time, what with a stellar roster of celebrated performers from Broadway to L.A., boasting impressive accomplishments in all mediums.

Beginning with a resplendent "Beautiful Girls" from Follies, crooned by golden-voiced Aleks Pevec, surrounded by a bevy of lovelies, the tone was set for the perfect selection of Sondheim tunes that followed, demonstrating once again the master's amazing range of styles and the richness of his ouevre. Other evergreen Follies numbers included Ty Taylor's riveting delivery of "Losing My Mind" and enchanting Daisy Eagan's "Broadway Baby," in which she very appropriately displayed the Tony she won at age 11 in The Secret Garden.

Michelle Duffy and Ethan Le Phong performed a wonderfully poignant rendition of "Move On." Lovely Lesli Margherita, an Olivier-award winner for the new musical Zorro in London, did a scintillating  "More" (from Dick Tracy). Another sexy and sultry number from the same film, "Sooner or Later," sizzled in the hands of Brooke Wilkes and a couple of impromptu chorus boys.

Black2 The sensational soprano Hila Plimann offered a gorgeous rendition of "Green Finch and Linnet Bird" from Sweeney Todd. That unforgettable musical thriller was also represented by Katrina Parker's lovely and moving treatment of "Not While I'm Around." Spirited Bets Malone (pictured) brought her comic chops as well as her terrfic voice to "Getting Married Today," where she was masterfully supported by Phong and Kristin Towers.

Two expectant mothers who also happen to be superstars--Susan Egan and Georgia Stitt--teamed on a terrific "Children Will Listen."  Also from Into the Woods was Cindy Robinson's delectable revisit to her "Steps/Palace" number as Cinderella, which she played in the Broadway revival.

SoCal Stages_blog Last by far from least: legendary actress-singer Sally Kellerman delivering a great "Send in the Clowns," Tony-winning marvel John Lloyd Young bringing his customary brio to "Being Alive" and "Something's Coming," Ashley Cuellar and pint-sized talent contest winner Savannah Robinson shining in a duet to "Somewhere," Jeffrey Landman's spirited "Franklin Shephard Inc." Anne Fraser Thomas' marvelous "Another Hundred People," Jen Malenke's powerful "Not a Day Goes By," and Jerry Sharell's dynamic "Marry Me a Little.' It was quite an evening, and undoubtedly would have pleased the revered songsmith Sondheim.

--Les Spindle

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