Review by Joe Regan Jr.
For some years, Cheryl Raymond has presented Steve Ross in programs at Lincoln Center’s Bruno Walter Auditorium. Admission is free and they are always packed with celebrities. October 30 was no exception: “Tap Too and Hallowe’en..Boo!” was presented by Ross and music maven Maxmilian St. James, featuring these notable performers: Conly Basham, Jim Brochu, Callie Carson, Michael Czys, Carole Demas, Shana Farr, Anita Gillette, Christopher Gines, Adam Hill, Heather MacRae, Sidney Myer, Lee Roy Reams, Joe Sirola, Ron Spivak, Jane Summerhays, Walter Willson, Karen Wyman, and special guest the 90 year old Lucine Amaya. In the audience were, among others, Ervin Drake, producer Elliott Martin, composer Billy Goldenberg, Joe Franklin,
I was familiar with many of the songs but there were several that were new to me. Personal highlights were Shana Farr telling how she would listen to Amaya’s “Musetta’s Waltz” on the radio and record as a baby. Farr’s husband brought her three month old son on stage, and the perky Amaya in splendid voice joined Farr and they both serenaded that lucky child! Farr sang a beautiful ballad, “When I Dance With The One I Love,” from “Ben Franklin In Paris.” Myer appeared and sang a rare Irving Berlin “Dance and Grow Thin,” complete with hysterically funny choreography!
Gines, in beautiful voice, sang three Sinatra songs by Cahn and Van Heusen: “I Like To Lead When I Dance,” (from “Robin and the 7 Hoods,”) “Come Dance With Me,” and “The Last Dance.”
Gillette, who knew Berlin, told stories about him and then did the crazy belly dance, “The Only Dance I Know,” which was performed in “Mr. President” by a visiting belly dancer! Wyman and Spivak did a wild “Beguine” from “Dames At Sea.”
MacRae came out and told us she had never sung “Dancing on the Ceiling” but her performance was tender and pitch perfect! She returned with Gillette, Wyman, and Demas, all in witches’ hats, and the four of them did a very complete and funny “To Keep My Love Alive.”
Basham, Carson, Czys, and Hill, the four young singers who backed up many of the performers, shined in their own duets and group performance with “The Varsity Drag,” “Won’t You Charleston With Me?” and “The Rivera.”
St. James brought the entire company on stage and told everyone that one of Gillette’s recent roles was teaching Richard Gere to waltz in “Shall We Dance.” Gillette performed the moves of the song, then led the entire company in a sing-along. The company sang “Happy Birthday” to Joe Franklin, a wonderful finish.