Monday, September 10, 2018

There’s No Business Like Show Business—Portland Musical Theater Company—N. Portland


“To Soothe the Savage Beast”

     This musical revue, of staged musicals from the 40’s and 50’s, is created and directed by Deanna Maio.  It is playing at the Peninsula Odd Fellows Lodge, 4834 N. Lombard St., through October 7th.  For more information, go to their site at www.portlandmusicaltheater.org

     Most music, it is said, has a calming effect on people/animals, in which they can deal better with conflicts in the outside world.  So, what better way to chill out than to have some outstanding singers, fabulous songs and rousing/lulling tunes to fly you away on a magic carpet ride to lands where things work out, eventually, for the better, and knowing that your brief time in this magical state will enable you to recharge your batteries for any adversity that lies ahead.  “If music be the food of love [and peace], play on!”

     The 40’s & 50’s had a multitude of musicals, which was sorely needed during the War and Post-War eras, to pull us back to a more understanding stance on issues.  They had Kiss Me Kate, Guys & Dolls, Carousel, South Pacific, Damn Yankees, The Music Man, My Fair Lady, The Sound of Music, West Side Story, Annie Get Your Gun, et. al.  It was a wonderous time in which, if we could not destroy Evil, at least we could push it aside for a spell, as Good regained its footing…and music certainly was the elixir for that nasty bug that had prevailed for a time.

     All the familiar songs are here, from sweet/haunting ballads, Goodnight My Someone, Maria and If I Loved You…to the inspiring You’ll Never Walk Alone, the rousing 76 Trombones…and more.  And the singers (Amanda Mehl, Cody Meadows, Bronwyn Jones, Carissa Zubricky, Lydia Ellis-Curry, Nathan Willbanks, Tristan James Stewart, Teriyaki Jefferson and Thomas McAulay) mainly in chorus for most songs, nailed them all!

     There are some of them that had solos and I wanted to tout them as raising the bar even higher because of their special qualities.  Jones, Jefferson and Mehl, all gave that something extra when they trod the stage in solo moments.  Their voices and characterizations are exceptional.  I see good things for them coming…as well as all the cast, having something special that would rival any of the big cast musical players in town!

     And Maio, as well as heading and founding the company, is amazing, creating and casting all these revues over the years.  My friend remarked, “she pretty well can do everything, can’t she?”  Yep, that pretty well sums her up…and well, too, I would add.  A tempest in the making, as she forges forward, I believe!  In the future, watch for the amusing Not Another Christmas Letter, in December and Tenderly in April, with Maio as Rosemary Clooney—you don’t want to miss this one!

     I highly recommend this show.  If you do choose to see it, please tell them Dennis sent you.
--DJS

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