By Sandi Durell
Cinderella is back at the Café Carlyle in a tribute to the World of Rodgers and Hammerstein!
Looking like a princess in a long white gown, the impeccable pitch-perfect soprano Laura Osnes was a little nervous but soon relaxed as she and musical director Ted Sperling felt the comfort of the room and familiar songs that have become the mainstay of the American Songbook.
The two have a history together in theater, Ted as musical director for South Pacific when Laura starred as Nellie Forbush, as they continue performing in concerts nationwide. Mr. Sperling is a Tony Award winning orchestrator, artistic director of Master Voices and conductor of the Westchester Philharmonic. Ms. Osnes recently concluded her starring run on Broadway in Bandstand and other credits include Bonnie and Clyde among many more. Ryan Silverman was recently seen in Side Show on Broadway and taking star turns as Billy Flynn in Chicago.
R & H wrote beautiful musical plays that told important stories, initiating the golden age of musical theater. We’re never bored hearing them, over and over again . . . like songs from Oklahoma giving opportunity to the rich voiced Ryan Silverman coming aboard “The Surrey With the Fringe on Top” as things really started perking in the actual scene set up, Ted pitching in as Aunt Eller.
Laura’s sweet and cutesy “I Enjoy Being a Girl” (Flower Drum Song) is joyful and didn’t really need added parodied lyrics (read from a handheld sheet of paper). “Hello Young Lovers” (My Fair Lady) was delivered with deep feeling as Laura conveyed the touching lovers’ story.
Ted Sperling is a wealth of historical musical knowledge sharing tales about Cinderella or the scoop on how Julie Andrews wound up in My Fair Lady, each tidbit of information serving as a song setup. Stand alone songs “All The Things You Are” (music: Jerome Kern; lyrics: Oscar Hammerstein) sung by Ms. Osnes and “It Never Entered My Mind” (music: Richard Rodgers; lyrics: Lorenz Hart) sung by Mr.Sperling, were particularly notable .
The South Pacific montage was a highlight featuring “A Cockeyed Optimist/Twin Soliloquies/Some Enchanted Evening” as Laura and Ryan not only showed off their exquisite voices but some fine acting. Ryan Silverman’s eight minute “Soliloquy” from Carousel was quite stunning, followed by some factual information from Ted that the musical is a five-record set, one of them devoted solely for “Soliloquy.”
Closing duet “Edelweiss,” with Ryan on guitar, was evidence of how Rodgers and Hammerstein wrote earnest songs to fill our hearts with joy, hope and spirit; songs that continue to make our hearts sing forever.
Photos: David Andrako
Cockeyed Optimists – Laura Osnes & Ted Sperling with Ryan Silverman continue with The World of Rodgers & Hammerstein at the Café Carlyle through September 30. Café Carlyle, 35 East 76 Street) Reservations: 212 744-1600 or online at Ticketweb.