The Nap in the Piazza

March 31, 2010

I saw the Wednesday matinee of The Light in the Piazza at Arena Stage.  I found aspects of the production so soothing and hypnotic that I have to admit that I was out cold for at least half of each act.  I’m assuming that I didn’t snore too much or my subscription partner would have nudged me (unless he was out, too). 

From what I could tell, this was a lovely production of the show.  The production used a scaled-down orchestra and company from the Broadway version, and I didn’t feel like the reduction in grandeur did anything to decrease the piece.  As a matter of fact, the combination of the reduced orchestration, and the vocal approach of the cast made the music sound far more accessible than I remember the original production.  This is really hard music, and the cast did a great job of making it approachable.  A lot of credit also goes to director Molly Smith for the clarity of the storytelling. 

 On the downside, I think the clarity of the storytelling and approachability of the material exposed the fact that the piece is a bit thin.  The whole package (that I was awake for) struck me as much less profound than I recall the Broadway version being.  The cast is terrific, and I certainly woke up toward the end of the first act when Hollis Resnick sang Dividing Day.

Hollis Resnick

March 13, 2010

Hollis Resnik-Make Someone Happy

In anticipation of seeing her in The Light in the Piazza at Arena Stage, I’ve been re-listening to Hollis Resnick’s CD, Make Someone Happy.  It is a terrific collection of very well-performed versions of interesting materials.  Particularly inventive is a jazz-infused How Do You solve a Problem Like Maria (with what sounds like a cameo by friend-of-this-blog Beckie Menzie).  In a Zen-like way, the recordings biggest strength is its biggest weakness: Resnik covers so many styles adeptly —  jazz, pop, classic Broadway, contemporary theater — that the CD comes across as a set of very good demo tracks rather tahn a cohesive listening experience.

  • All You Need Is A Quarter
  • This Is What It Is
  • Who’s This Stranger
  • Lion Tamer
  • How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria?
  • I’m Tired Of Loving You
  • Barbara Song
  • Can’t Help Fallin’ In Love With You
  • A Trip To The Library
  • Unusual Way
  • Life Of The Party
  • Make Someone Happy