by Linda Amiel Burns . . .
2022 Winter Rhythms presented “Other Lives -The Story Songs of Michael Colby” on December 11th at Urban Stages.This is the 14th season of the Winter Rhythms Series at Urban Stages, produced by Tom Toce and Sue Matsuki. with twenty different shows offered in ten days.
One of the most exciting programs was “Other Lives – The Story Songs of Michael Colby” with a sterling cast of show biz veterans, and up and comers. Michael is a Lyricist (Charlotte Sweetand Tales of Tinseltown) and was inspired to put this 20 Song Cycle together during Covid to encourage artists to keep working. He wrote the music with many composers including Andrea Colby (his wife), Ned Paul Ginsburg, Larry Hochman, Paul Katz, Gerald Jay Markoe, Peter Millrose, Alex Rybeck, Steven Silverstein, Joseph Thalken and Herman Yablokoff.
The production was smoothly directed by Sara Louis Lazarus with Musical Direction by the extraordinary Michael Lavine. There were 21 singers featured: Janet Aldrich, Bethe Austin, Ari Axelrod, Lauren Baker, Klea Blackhurt, Stephen Bogardus, LaDonna Burns, Talia Cutulle, David Edwards, Dan Hoy, Heeya Kim, Luke Naphat, Sarah Rice, Jane Seaman, Megan Styrna, Marianne Tatum, Maureen Taylor, Deborah Jean Templin, Deborah Tranelli, Joshua Turchin, and Stuart Zagnit. As each performer came on stage, there was a screen with the name of the song, writers, and vocalists, some with photos. The subjects of the clever material was varied and interesting from gay adoption “Carl’s Song” to “Changing Times” to “That’s My Pooch” and “Christmas Every Day.”
Each was beautifully sung and accompanied by Michael Lavine.
At the end Michael Colby came on stage to perform “Growing Up at the Algonquin” based on his book, The Algonquin Kid, about his unusual childhood as his grandparents owned the famed hotel.
The cast took their final bow and reprised the title song “Other Lives” (Music by Alex Rybeck). The show was well rehearsed and put together considering it was a “one night only” event and showcased Michael’s songs, composers, and many talented singers. There is an additional show on Tues. Dec. 13 @ 7pm at Urban Stages 259 West 30 St. NYC