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May 2, 2016:

May Mayhem reviewed by Rob Stevens

This reviewer missed Kritzerland’s annual April Fools silliness last month but producer/host Bruce Kimmel extended the madness with May Mayhem on May 1. Sterling’s Upstairs at the Federal was jam-packed with musical theatre fans. The hodgepodge of potpourri included quite a few rarities as well as some skewered renditions of familiar songs. In the tradition of such silly fun, Kimmel began the show with a new “What If” number that he performed. It goes something like this, well actually it goes exactly like this. What if composer Sherman Edwards instead of writing 1776 had written Les Miserables. “Sit down, Jean, sit down” began the fun tune. Damon Kirsche sang “The Lusty Month of May” combined with “June is Bustin’ Out All Over” to great merriment. Kirsche continued a theme of singing songs originally written for female characters with “Hurry, It’s Lovely Up Here” and “I’ve Heard That Song Before.” Brittney Bertier and Amy Gillette were a pair of dueling Eliza Doolittles (they had both played the role in late 2015 on local stages) and their sopranos really soared on “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly” and “Show Me.” Earlier Bertier did a loverly rendition of “Simple Little Things” from 110 in the Shade and elicited laughs with her “Happy Working Song” from the film Enchanted. Gillette delighted audiences with her heartfelt “Will You?” from Grey Gardens. John Allsopp had fun with the rarely heard “Everything in the World I Love” from the three-performance Broadway flop The Yearling and the bouncy “Beautiful City” which Stephen Schwartz originally wrote for the film version of Godspell and then rewrote for its subsequent use in the stage version. Sami Staitman had fun channeling Wednesday Addams, a role she recently played at her high school, by singing “Pulled.” Special Guest Star Maude Maggart had the audience in stitches by singing and whistling her way through the Rodgers and Hart ditty “A Little Birdie Told Me.” Kerry O’Malley sang “The Wall,” a beautiful song from the new musical In This House. O’Malley also gave a perfect rendering of “The Black Dahlia,” a haunting tune with words by Adryan Russ and music by Kimmel. The song was one of three Kimmel previewed for the Kritzerland audience from his upcoming (opening May 13 at LACC) musical revue L.A. Now and Then. The entire cast of the revue, led by Robert Yacko, sang the show’s opening number “This Is the City,” while Sami Staitman delivered the nostalgic tribute to the city’s past movie palaces with “Once Upon a Time.” O’Malley closed the show with a rousing rendition of “Home Sweet Heaven” from Blithe Spirit. What a loverly way to begin May.


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