Carnegie Hall was filled to the rafters for the concert celebrating the Collaborations of the Past, Present and Future. Musical Director-Conductor Steven Reineke, as always, was his charming self as Paula Zahn, not only hosted, but showed her other talents playing cello during the evening festivities. The stars came out to sing and, yes, they all shined several glittered with gorgeous outfits of sequins and jewels.
The evening was devoted to honoring three icons: Jule Styne who collaborated with Stephen Sondheim, Bob Merrill, Adolph Green & Betty Comden and Leo Robin; the songs of Frank Loesser and the inimitable entertainer Danny Kaye. The legacy of these great artists formed the basis of an evening filled with talents from Broadway and beyond.
Danny Kaye’s daughter Dena Kaye provided heart-warming historical information about her Dad while a video of his movies and concert performances brought to life the entertainer’s multi-talents. And just yesterday a new sandwich appeared on the menu of the Carnegie Deli – the Danny Kaye Club!
After a rousing opening by the Camp Broadway Kids who appeared on stage and in the aisles, in a medley of tunes from Gypsy, recent Tony Award Nominee Stephanie J. Block (for her role in The Mystery of Edwin Drood), hit home with a resounding “Don’t Rain on My Parade” (Funny Girl), followed by Betsy Wolfe with “The Music That Makes Me Dance” (Funny Girl).
Also a Tony Nominee for her role on Broadway in Cinderella, Laura Osnes sang the poetic “People,” while the sweet vocals of Laura Benanti rang through in “Neverland” (Peter Pan).
Another icon was on board with “My Own Morning” (Hallelujah Baby!), by it’s original owner, Leslie Uggams, who won a Tony Award for her portrayal, bringing the audience to their feet.
The ever-sparkling personality of Megan Hilty proved that “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” (Gentlemen Prefer Blondes).
From Ronald McDonald House, students sang background vocals while the lovely Kelli O’Harasang “Inchworm” from Hans Christian Andersen, with additional backup by the Rockin’ The House Band.
Charming two time Tony winner Donna Murphy gathered up some of the Broadway Camp Kids to relate “The Ugly Duckling,” followed by three gamblers from Guys and Dolls with “Fugue for Tinhorns” – Nick Adams, Will Chase and Max Von Essen.
Seems like the evening was just filled with Tony Nominees as Rob McClure (Chaplin) proved his capabilities in playful song and dance with an adorable “Once in Love with Amy” from Where’s Charley?
One of the purest voices around is Liz Callaway, her exciting soprano soaring with “How to Succeed/I Believe in You” (How To Succeed . . .). Daddy Warbucks himself – Anthony Warlow (Annie) was on hand with a resounding “Rosabella” from The Most Happy Fella.
Steven Reineke has great taste in artists and saved the best for last – the marvelous Marilyn Maye who recently celebrated and celebrated and is still celebrating her 85th Birthday! Looking, as always, perfectly striking, accompanied by Tedd Firth on piano, she sang “Joey, Joey, Joey (The Most Happy Fella) and “Luck Be A Lady” (Guys and Dolls) which culminated in standing ovations.
Many made their way to the Plaza Hotel for the reception and dinner to complete the evening. Oh, what a night!