By Joel Benjamin
Pleasant is the operative word for Rochelle Breyer Chamlin and Paul Chamlin’s show at Don’t Tell Mama on October 8th. Gems by Jule: Selections from the Jule Styne Songbook was a lovely stroll through the songs of this prolific melody-master. Wisely, the Chamlins included several rarely-heard “gems” among the well-trod repertoire. Throughout the show, Paul provided fine piano accompaniment.
They touched on Styne’s Broadway musicals with such songs as “I Want to Be Seen With You” (Bob Merrill) from Funny Girl which Paul used as an opener, joined immediately by “Can’t You Just See Yourself” (Sammy Cahn), a sweetly romantic proposal, from High Button Shoes. Rochelle sang “There Never Was a Baby Like My Baby” (Comden & Green – from Two on the Aisle) with loving glances at her hubby to which he replied equally with “Bye, Bye Baby” (Leo Rubin – from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes).
In a mini tribute to Doris Day, Rochelle caught the sweetness of “Blame My Absent Minded Heart” (Cahn) but didn’t quite get the grandeur of “It’s Magic” (Cahn). Sinatra was also honored with several songs sung by Paul including “Guess I’ll Hang My Tears Out to Dry” and “I Fall In Love Too Easily” (both with Cahn) in which he caught the saloon essence of each.
The rarities included a funny/sad “Penniless Bums” (Merrill, from Sugar), an easygoing “I’m Just Taking My Time” (Comden/Green from Subways Are for Sleeping) both sung by Paul and “If You Hadn’t But You Did” (Comden/Green from Two On the Aisle) sung by Rochelle whose nice persona didn’t quite match the hard-boiled quality needed to get these clever variations on the syllable “if” off the ground. She did, however, find a girlish glee in “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend.”
Two oddities were Styne’s first big hit, “Sunday” (Ned Miller, Chester Conn & Benney Kreuger), a cute ditty and “Too Old to Be Young” (Herb Garder, from One Night Stand), a sad rumination sung by Paul.
They finished with two upbeat numbers sung as duets: “Make Someone Happy” (Comden/Green) and “Together Wherever We Go” (Sondheim) which summed up this couple’s philosophy.
The Chamlins will repeat this program at Don’t Tell Mama on November 13th.
Rochelle Breyer Chamlin and Paul Chamlin
Don’t Tell Mama
343 West 46th St., between 8th & 9th Aves.
New York, NY
Reservations: www.donttellmamanyc.com or 212-757-0788 (after 4 p.m.)
More Information: www.thechamlins.com