Friday, July 10, 2009

A Moon Studded Evening

(Photo: Special Guests Jan Wahl and Paula West)

Open: A stage bereft of persons, a lone-lit piano, and 12 stark chairs.

Enter: Dave Dobrusky, Maestro of all things Moon, followed by Bill Fahrner and Caroline Altman. Bill sat on the end of stage right and began the evening with a plaintive and tender “Hooray for Hollywood;” the music continued as Caroline Altman delivered a touching oratory tribute to Hollywood during the Depression Era.

And We’re in the Money was off to an amazing start…

The cast (in alphabetical order) Caroline Altman, Derek Travis Collard, Robbie Cowan, Bill Fahrner, Sarah Kathleen Farrell, Rob Hatzenbeller, Nina Josephs, Alexandra Kapreilian, Greg MacKellan, Darlene Popovic, Stephanie Rhoads, and Justin Torres whipped through hit after hit from “Singing in the Rain” and “Jeepers Creepers” to “Some Like it Hot” and of course the title song, “We’re in the Money.”

There were even special guests: the Decobelles, the Jesters, Jan Wahl and a breathy and bold Paula West. Paula joined the evening unannounced and sang an audacious “Softly, As in a Morning Sunrise.”

Every single member of the cast shined that night, but I was absolutely astonished by the felicity of Darlene Popovic’s comedic timing and Greg MacKellan’s masterful knowledge of all things Musical.

When Greg joined Darlene in “We’re in the Money,” he sang the lyrics in pig Latin à la Ginger Rogers. The audience sat mesmerized, only to be jolted into hysterics when Darlene implored them to join in Greg’s version. “Everybody!” she said coyly.

One of the most touching moments came after “We’re in the Money,” when the mic was passed between the actors to explain what Moon means to them. Darlene summed up most of the actors’ sentiments, “This is a family.”

However, it was Justin’s declaration, “It’s tough being one of the only straight male actors in musical theatre,” that once again brought the house down with laughter.

After intermission Jan Wahl looked like she was having the time of her life on stage. Who could blame her? She was being serenaded by the sultry tones of Bill, Robbie, Rob, Justin, and Derek singing the Kern-Fields gem, “The Way You Look Tonight.” Five hunks to one “woman of many hats,” them’s odds Jan looked kindly on!

The show was only part of the evening, which began with hors d'oeuvres, wine and a silent auction. After the concert, patrons visited with the cast as more wine and desserts were passed. I’m told the auction was a huge success, as was the entire evening.

Kudos to Board Member and Event Chair Joanna Leighton-Nevesny, Moon’s Managing Director Lauren Hewitt, Greg MacKellan, the cast and all the volunteers who made the gala fundraiser such a wonderful event.

This concert was reminiscent of the earliest days of Moon: no props, no scenery, just beautiful music, brilliant singers and an evening of entertainment that brought all those in attendance just a little bit closer together. I know it sounds mushy, but it’s true.

P.S. The evening was a fundraiser. If you weren’t able to make it, but would like to make a donation to 42nd Street Moon you can do so by
clicking here.

P.P.S. For more about the gala (and specifically Jan Wahl’s involvement) check back next week!

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