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Kimmel's Favorite Bits

Kirsche_038The multitalented performer-composer-producer Bruce Kimmel is taking us on a trip down memory lane in a new musical revue. Well, sort of. Except for fanatic musical-theater buffs who are well acquainted with seldom performed show tunes, most audience members of “Lost & Unsung” will find the bill of fare unfamiliar. Drawing material from two of his series of CD recordings, “Lost in Boston" and “Unsung Musicals,” Kimmel directs and narrates a cabaret grab bag filled with songs fitting two categories—memorable tunes cut from great musicals, and worthy numbers from famous flops. Presented at Los Angeles City College’s Caminito Theatre, Nov. 30-Dec. 3, and featuring students and seasoned musical-theater veterans, the show is an unpretentious delight.

Kimmel and music director-accompanist Jose C. Simbulan emphasize lighthearted fun—seasoned with occasional rueful ballads—in a vehicle headed by local luminaries Alet Taylor, Damon Kirsche (pictured here), Melody Hollis, and Will Collyer.

A special treat at the opening performance was a brief appearance by the venerable songsmith-showman Richard M. Sherman, who with his brother Robert B. Sherman, created some of the finest film music of the 1960s-1970s, composing many Disney classics (“Mary Poppins,” “Bedknobs and Broomsticks,” “The Jungle Book”) and countless other fine scores (such as “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang”). Singing, playing the piano, and using a kazoo, Sherman performed a wonderful ditty called “Chimpanzoo,” which was cut during production of “Mary Poppins.”

WCollyerThe dynamic Kirsche created magic with the truly terrific “Ten Percent,” which was cut from Kander and Ebb’s “Chicago.” As this snappy song, written for an agent character who was dropped from the book, recalls the numbers crooned by sleazy lawyer Billy Flynn in this musical, it’s not hard to see why it was not kept. Kirsche was also bedazzling in the lovely “Multitude of Amys,” from “Company,” one of the more familiar numbers amid this revue’s generally obscure roster of songs. And Kirsche provided additional Sondheim pizzazz in “Make the Most of Your Music” which had been dropped from “Follies.” The ever-enchanting Collyer (right) had his moments in the spotlight, particularly in two heartrending showstoppers—“Orphan in the Storm:” from Schmidt and Jones’ “Celebration” and “So Little Time” from Cy Coleman’s “Barnum.”

Among outstanding group numbers was the effervescent “Smile” from the failed Broadway show of the same name, and the smashing, “Take It In Your Stride,” originally written for “Annie Get Your Gun,” led by an effervescent Taylor.

SoCal Stages_blogKimmel and Taylor shined in the sprightly duet “A Wonderful Life” from the musical adaptation of Frank Capra’s film classic, “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Taylor and Kirsche stopped the show in a glittering duet, the fabulous title song form “Sherry!,” the musical version of “The Man Who Came to Dinner.” Reservations are available at (323) 953-4000. ext. 2990.

--Les Spindle

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