by: Paulanne Simmons
During his long career as a composer, Richard Rodgers had two major collaborators: Lorenz Hart and Oscar Hammerstein. While Rodgers’ songs with Hammerstein have been called more sincere and socially aware, those he created with Hart are praised for their sophistication and irony. Not surprisingly, many of these songs have become favorites of notable cabaret singers.
In This Can’t Be Love: The Songs of Rodgers and Hart, Travis Moser shows exactly what has made Rodgers and Hart legendary in the nightlife world. The show, which has new arrangements by musical director Steven Silverstein, comes to 54 Below after successful runs at several other venues including Metropolitan Room and The Laurie Beechman Theater.
In this journey through the Rodgers and Hart songbook, Moser sings many of the duo’s most famous songs: “My Romance,” “The Lady Is a Tramp,” “This Can’t Be Love,” “Manhattan,” “My Funny Valentine,” and his personal favorite, “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered.”
Moser has a rich voice that is particularly effective in the lower registers. The occasional anecdote sets the songs in a personal and historic context.
Longtime friend Samantha Shafer joins Moser on stage to give the female perspective on several songs: “I Didn’t Know What Time It Was,” “That Terrific Rainbow,” “Ten Cents a Dance.”
There’s good news for those who don’t want the experience to end with the show. This Can’t Be Love: The Songs of Rodgers and Hart was recorded live and is available on CD.
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