Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: San Francisco/North Bay

Help Is on the Way
Richmond/Ermet Aid Foundation
Review by Richard Connema| Season Schedule

Also see Richard's reviews of Hair in Concert, Radio Golf and Craig Jessup: This Funny World

The Richmond/Ermet Aid Foundation has done it again with their 23rd gala Help Is on the Way. Presented at the Herbst Theatre on August 20, this year's theme was Puttin' on the Glitz, a celebration of music legends and icons. The cast of the revue cast members of the Something Rotten! tour and such celebrity performers as Paula West, Leanne Borghesi, Garrett Clayton, Lisa Viggiano, Jason Block, Jessica Sanchez, Levi Kreis, David Engel, David Burnham, Lisa Vroman, Maureen McGovern, Trent Harson, and Carole Cook. The revue also featured the Salsamania Dance Company and dancers Eileen Blum and Lea Bourgade. The event benefitted Meals on Wheels in San Francisco and the Positive Resource Center.

Ken Henderson and Joe Seller welcomed the full house to start the show. The opening by the cast of Something Rotten! was exciting. They presented a Broadway montage by Richard Rockage with astonishing dancing by the chorus of the musical.

Paula West came on the stage and profoundly sang Bob Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone" as a change of pace, then Leanna Borghesi came center stage and was lively singing Kander and Ebb's "Everybody's Girl" from Steel Pier. Next came Garrett Clayton, known for his leading role in the hit Disney Channel movies "Teen Beach Move" and Teen Beach 2," and as the love interest in NBC's Hairspray Live!, who beautifully crooned "It Takes Two" from Hairspray.

Lisa Viggiano, MAC nominee for female vocalist, attractively sang Tim DiPasqua's "Three's a Charm" and there was again a change of pace, with an exciting tango by Salsamania Dance Company. Jason Brook, with a powerful voice, sang Michael Masser and Linda Creed's "The Greatest Love of All" and Jessica Sanchez of "American Idol" fervently sang "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" from Dreamgirls. To end to first act, the wild and wooly Levi Kreis, who won the 2010 Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Musical for his role of Jerry Lee Lewis, repeated the role of the piano-playing fool.

At intermission the auction took place. This year, a dinner for 10 persons at Finn Town Diner went for $3500, The Puerto Vallarta luxury vacation went for $2100, six nights on an African safari went for $8000, and a custom made grown went for only $1000.

The second act opened with Dave Engel tapping to Gene Kelly on the screen overhead in "Singin' in the Rain." David Burnham saluted Frank Sinatra by singing stunningly "That's Life," while Eileen Blum and Lea Bourgade danced gracefully to "Por Una Cabeza." Lisa Vroman superbly sang "The Mirror Medley," a tribute to the classics. Maureen McGovern sang down and dirty in a tribute to the blues, "The Man That Got Away/Stormy Weather/Blues in the Night". "American Idol" winner Trent Harmon delightfully sang Sia and Jesse Shatkin's "Chandelier." The indisputable Carole Cook came center stage to salute Lucille Ball with "Hey, Look Me Over" from the musical Wildcat, and Jessica Sanchez poignantly sang the somber "My Prayer."

To finish, all of the cast came out to sing David Friedman's song "Help Is on the Way." It was a grand night for singing.