Celebrating 10 Years of Winter Rhythms – Urban Stages
by Linda Amiel Burns
From 12/12 to 12/22, 2018 Winter Rhythms at Urban Stages will present 20 different shows in 10 days. In 2009, Frances Hill, the founder and Artistic Director of Urban Stages, had the idea to present a cabaret series at the theater and in 2011 Peter Napolitano took over the project for the next seven years. He recently turned it over to Tom Toce who is producing this year’s Winter Rhythms. The proceeds raises money for their Outreach Program and over $200,000 has been contrivbuted in the past decade.
Opening night December 12 was hosted by Peter Napolitano with Matthew Martin Ward on the piano. Peter spoke of the many past programs over the years, what the series meant to him, and presented some of his favorite performers to start off the 10th Season. The late Barry Levitt was a large part of the series and is sorely missed.
Mark Nadler opened the show with his exuberant “A Jewish Christmas” written by Larry Kerchner. Natalie Douglas performed Elton John’s “Someone Saved My Life Tonight” and also the Nat King Cole Classic “Somewhere Along The Way.” Janice Hall sang Marlene Dietrich’s “Lili Marlene” from her show Grand Illusions and reprised “The Laziest Gal in Town.” Marissa Mulder’s “Come Fly With Me” was delightful as she included a little known verse. Then, with Bill Zeffiro, they competed in the classic from Annie Get Your Gun, “Anything You Can Do.” A highlight was Stephen Cole and Liam Forde performed the famed medley that Ethel Merman and Mary Martin sang on TV, to perfection. Adam Shapiro moved us with a song from Jerry Herman’s The Grand Tour originally sung by Joel Grey who, ironically, is now the director of the Yiddish Fiddler in which Adam is part of the cast since inception.
Ann Kittredge sang two of Tom Toce’s brilliant songs from his revue Hopelessly in Love, “You Make Me Laugh” and “After All.” Then Janice and Adam (who are roommates in real life) closed with a song by Peter and Matthew from their show The Lady in Penthouse B, “Let’s Have a Drink.”
The entire cast returned to the stage to lead the audience in Disney’s “When You Wish Upon A Star.” We look forward to attending many of the great shows that are being offered through 12/22/18. For info on all the shows go to www.urbanstages.org and to purchase tickets. call 1-866-811-4111. Each show is only $30 (and two shows the same day $50).
Photos: Maryann Lopinto