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San Francisco by Richard Connema

A Grand Night of Singing in Honor of Marvin Hamlisch

Also see Richard's reviews of George Gershwin Alone and The Oregon Shakespeare Festival

For its final cabaret night of the season, the Bay Area Cabaret recently presented a wonderful tribute to the late Marvin Hamlisch at the Fairmont Hotel Venetian Room. Guest stars included Karen Mason, Lisa Vroman, Billy Stritch, Alan and Marilyn Bergman, and Bobby Conte Thornton. The 90-minute show was called A Birthday Tribute to Marvin Hamlisch. The artists gloriously sang songs from Broadway shows A Chorus Line, Sweet Smell of Success and They're Playing Our Song plus songs from the films The Way We Were and Ice Castles.

Opening the program was Billy Stritch tickling the ivories with Scott Joplin's "The Entertainer" quickly followed by 2012 Bay Area Teen Idol Bobby Conte Thornton (currently in his second year at the University of Michigan and in the upcoming Les Misérables at The Muny in St. Louis). He sang and danced "I Can Do That" from A Chorus Line.

Karen Mason beautifully sang "Nothing" from A Chorus Line followed by Lisa Vroman assisted by Billy Stritch on vocals poignantly singing "The Last Time I Felt Like This" and "When You're in My Arms." Bobby Conte Thornton retuned to the stage with powerful vocal cords and perfect phasing singing " At the Fountain" from Sweet Smell of Success. Karen Mason returned to exquisitely sing "Though the Eyes of Love." The first act ended with Lisa Vroman mellifluously singing "That's How I Say Goodbye" from Sweet Smell of Success.

The second act opened with Billy Stritch and his special vibrant voice singing and playing "They're Playing Our Song" from the Broadway hit of the same name. This was followed by three young female students, Hannah Sears, Julia Cassandra Smith and Danielle Bower, harmoniously and energizingly singing "At the Ballet" from A Chorus Line. The legendary Marilyn Bergman came to the stage and reminisced about the late Marvin Hamlisch and then her husband joined her to touchingly sing "The Way We Were."

The complete cast returned to the stage to sing "What I Did for Love" and ended with "One."

Truly, this was a great night of singing the songs of this great composer who died so young.

Some of the artists who will be appearing next season at Bay Area Cabaret at the Fairmont Hotel will be Chita Rivera, Megan Hilty, Stacy Kent, Karen Mason and John Pizzarelli.


Cheers - and be sure to Check the lineup of great shows this season in the San Francisco area

- Richard Connema



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