Winter Rhythms – Broadway By Guitar: Sean Harkness & Friends

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Sean with Karen Oberlin

Sean with Karen Oberlin

 

 

Stearns Matthews

Stearns Matthews

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reviewed by Joe Regan Jr.

Another great Winter Rhythms evening – December 11th  at Urban Stages with “Broadway By Guitar with Sean Harkness and Friends.” Harkness began playing one of his extraordinary guitars “My Favorite Things,” alternating rhythms and keys in a series of changes that could only be described as genius. Harkness is well known for his recordings, the fact that a special guitar is named after him, and his accompaniment for many of today’s cabaret stars. Tonight he featured six of those. In his introduction for each performer he gave wonderful historical biographical details.

First up was Scott Morgan who sang what was possibly the last Jerome Kern composition, “Nobody Else But Me” written for the “Show Boat” revival. Morgan’s voice was strong and clear. He also sang, f“No One Is Alone” (Into The Woods).

Sean with Nina Hennessey

Sean with Nina Hennessey

Next up was Nina Hennessey who sang a timeless song “Who Cares,” with verse, and “Dreamers,” both in a gorgeous voice.

From her Dietrich show, Janice Hall sang f“I’ve Grown Accustomed To Her Face,” explaining that it was sung by Dietrich without changing the gender. Harkness’ accompaniment was superb. She also killed with “Too Darn Hot,”  a great Cole Porter rhythm number.

Stearns Matthews sang a selection that he did with Harkness at Raissa Katona Bennett’s park series, “Carefully Taught.” Matthews was also in top voice and did a tender “Right As the Rain” from “Bloomer Girl.”

Karen Oberlin, in gorgeous red dress, sang “All the Things You Are” beginning with the verse, letting Harkness go through a chorus, and then sang the familiar lyric. Her last song was from a flop musical, “The Yearling,” and it was the wonderful “Kind of Man A Woman Needs.”

Karen Akers

Karen Akers

 

 

Cast

Cast

Last, but not least, was Karen Akers, who sang two very little known songs. The first was a Harry Warren song written for “Barclays of Broadway“ that was never used, “There Is No Music,” and the second, a Sondheim song written for a Barbra Streisand movie that was never made, “Water Under the Bridge.” Both were stunning and Akers delivered them with passion and power.

 

The finale: all the cast returned and Harkness conducted them in a choral a cappella “Adeste Fidelis.”

*Photos: Maryann Lopinto (click photos to enlarge)

 

Upcoming: Saturday at 3 PM the Jim Hensen show conceived and directed by Adam B. Shapiro, and at 7 PM “Salute to the Singer/Songwriters of the Seventies” featuring Carole J. Bufford, Natalie Douglas, Meg Flather, Lauren Fox, Laurie Kranz and Barbara Porteus.

Special Sunday Gala at 7 PM “From All of Us to All of You: Seasonal Songs and Disney, Too!” hosted by Jim Brochu, with Clint Holmes, Karen Mason, Stacy Sullivan, Janice Hall, David Vernon, Sue Matsuki, Edd Clark, Mary Lahti, Helena Grenot, Joanna Morton Gary, Nick Levin, Doug Shapiro, Gretchen Reinhagen, Lennie Watts, Dana Lorge, Doreen Montalvo and Adam B. Shapiro!
Urban Stages is located at 259 West 30 Street. Go to www.urbanstages.org for schedule and call 212 868-4444 for tickets.

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