**** Recommended **** Porchlight Revisits “They’re Playing Our Song” was wonderful! In fact, it was one of the best, most relaxing evenings I’ve had in a long time. The Porchlight Revisits Series brings back Broadway gems which for one reason or another have been “unsung” for a long time. If you have a chance to see one of these ‘script-in-hand’ performances, grab it. 4 Spotlights
Porchlight Artistic Director Michael Weber led off the evening with a presentation called the Behind the Show Backstory. His commentary, accompanied by a slide show, placed “They’re Playing Our Song” within its time period. He covered the who – Neil Simon, book, Marvin Hamlisch, music and Carole Bayer Sager, lyrics – as well as what, when, where and why, pretty thoroughly, too.
“They’re Playing Our Song” is basically a two person show about a male composer and a female lyricist who fall into and out of love while working together on a batch of songs. Robert Klein and Lucie Arnaz starred in the original Broadway production.
Lorenzo Rush Jr played Vernon Gersch, a successful composer, with a laid-back but curmudgeonly style. Sharriese Hamilton was delightful as the frenetic, ‘late-for-every-appointment’, and somewhat eccentric lyricist, Sonia Walsk. While both stars carried their scripts, they didn’t look at them often, and actually incorporated them into the story, which was done on the set of Porchlight’s current production, “Merrily We Roll Along”.
“They’re Playing Our Song” has something that sets it apart from other falling-in-love musicals, the three male and three female Voices, a kind of Greek chorus. The men, Yando Lopez, Billy Rude and Koray Treible, voice the thoughts and ideas of Vernon Gersch in song and dance. The women, Anastasio Arnold, Kiersten Frumkin and Tyler Symone do the same for Sonia Walsk.
Next up for Porchlight Revisits, “Do Re Mi”, May 22nd through 24th at Ruth Page Center for the Arts, 1016 N. Dearborn, Chicago. Valet parking is a new option at Ruth Page. FYI (773) 777-9884 or www.porchlightmusictheatre.org.
Read all of my reviews at www.spotlightonlake.com.