Regional Reviews: Florida - Southern
Broadway Cabaret Series
Christine Ebersole has enchanted audiences for over 30 years as a movie, television and cabaret star, but she is best known for her extensive work on Broadway. She appeared on Broadway in 2000 in Gore Vidal's The Best Man, and 2005 as M'Lynn in Steel Magnolias. She received a Tony Award nomination for her role as Millicent Jordan in Dinner At Eight in 2002, and won the Tony Award for Best Leading Actress in a Musical as Dorothy Brock in the 2001 revival of 42nd Street. Miss Ebersole has most recently been seen on and off-Broadway in Grey Gardens; she received an Obie Award, a Drama Desk Award, an Outer Critics Circle Award, a Drama League Award and a Tony Award for her performance in the dual roles of Edith and Edie Beale.
In addition to the cast recording of Grey Gardens, she can also be heard on the CDs Live at the Cinegrill and In Your Dreams with Billy Stritch. Billy Stritch is an award winning composer, arranger, vocalist and jazz pianist credited with breathing new life into the Great American Songbook. In 2001 he was cast in the role of Oscar, the piano-playing crooner in the Broadway revival of 42nd Street with Christine Ebersole. Their show stopping number "I Only Have Eyes For You" led to a collaboration and friendship that extended to the development of a cabaret show featuring an amazing collection of songs in a performance that Entertainment Weekly exclaimed as "Sensational!"
At the Grand Marquee, Ebersole and Stritch worked smoothly together singing tight, up-tempo jazz harmonies. A few familiar tunes got fresh paint jobs with new tempos. The pair provided delightful renditions of songs such as "The Surrey With the Fringe on Top" from Oklahoma! and "My Ship" from Lady In The Dark. Ebersole has wonderful breath control and placement. Stritch is an astounding jazz pianist, and together they have great and precise vocal timing.
Miss Ebersole's patter was off-the-cuff and wandered a bit, but still she was quite charming. She is so naturally funny, it is surprising that she didn't select stories that capitalize on that more. Before her finale of the appropriate "My Funny Valentine," she poignantly sang "Will You?" from Grey Gardens so beautifully, it would make you want to run out and buy the cast recording. The concert was filled with lively and romantic music played and sung with style and talent. What a lovely way to celebrate Valentines Day.
The Broadway Cabaret Series performances are at the Grand Marquee Theatre on the Cultural Campus located adjacent to the Mall at Wellington, at 2175 Wellington Green Dr., in Wellington, FL. The Grand Marquee is a 8,200 square. ft. theatrical pavilion with over 500 seats, and gourmet concessions for food/beverage that will be the new temporary home for the entire 2008 program series by The Cultural Trust. The collection of events is expected to sell out quickly, but series tickets are available. For more information and/or tickets, please call the box office at 800-514-3849 or go to www.culturaltrustpb.org.