Regional Reviews: Florida - West Coast
Liz has been a presence in Sarasota off and on for a number of years. Only two weeks ago she was one of three Broadway leading ladies at a Sarasota Orchestra pops concert, she has also emceed large programs for Artist Series Concerts as well as appeared solo a few years ago. She is a great favorite of mine, as is the original Sibling Revelry recording. Her sister Ann Hampton Callaway is new to me, other than through a couple of CDs. It is kind of interesting how much the program has changed through the years.
The sisters opened with "It's Today" from Mame and then went into "The Sweetest Sounds" and "I Can See It." Ann took center stage for a really nice rendition of "Rhythm in My Nursery Rhymes" in which she proves her jazz chops with scat, trumpet, drum and percussion imitations and just sent the tune toward jazz heaven. Next she sang a really nice version of Nancy Ford and Gretchen Cryer's "Old Friend" with "My Buddy" wrapped around it. Liz returned for "Meadowlark" and "My Heart Is So Full of You."
"Meadowlark" is one of my favorite theater songs (I've even tried it out myself, even though it seems to belong to female singers, but I've got the right belt voice for it). Whenever I think of the song or hear it, its Liz Callaway's voice in my ear singing it. For me she simply owns the song, even though many others sing it and sing it well. After a quick version of "The Nanny Named Fran," written by Ann and sung by both sisters on the TV soundtrack, it was time for the first act closer "Our Time," but not without a shout out to Sarasota's own Ann Morrison who was in the original cast of Merrily we Roll Along which introduced this now classic Sondheim song.
Act two opened with a medley of tunes from Gypsy, then Liz soloed on "Journey to the Past" from Anastasia (she provided the singing voice in the movie) and "Memory" from Cats to which she devoted five years of her life, off and on. Ann brought the crowd to its feet mid-show with "Don't Rain on My Parade" followed by an all out, no holds barred "Blues in the Night." Next they launched into their "Huge Medley" duet which included, among other things, "Sisters," The Stepsister's Lament," "If Mama was Married," "You're Just in Love," Marry the Man Today," "Ohio," "I Know Him so Well," "Enough is Enough" and "Get Happy/Happy Days are Here Again."
The encore was "Brotherhood of Man" right off of Liz's solo album of Frank Loesser tunes where sister Ann is a guest.
All of this was accompanied by the 10 nimble fingers of the always dependable Alex Rybeck who also added a little vocal fill here and there. Mr. Rybeck again showed why he is so in demand as a music director and arranger.
The audience offered another standing ovation, and although I rarely join them, this time I did. It was a wonderful show. Thank you to the two very talented sisters and Artist Series of Sarasota for bringing us Sibling Revelry.
Sibling Revelry was presented March 26, 2017, by Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota at Church of the Palms, Sarasota, Florida. For more information, please visit artistseriesconcerts.org