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October 3, 2016:

Times Like This reviewed by Rob Stevens

Composer Stephen Flaherty and lyricist Lynn Aherns have been working together for almost 30 years. They have created some of musical theatre’s most beautiful and heartfelt ballads in those years. Times Like This, Kritzerland’s 71st outing on October 2 at Sterling’s Upstairs at the Federal, highlighted their work. Producer/host Bruce Kimmel provided the background info, Musical Director Richard Allen delivered great accompaniment on piano and a stellar cast of performers offered some great entertainment.

I don’t know if there were any casting people from 3D Theatricals in the audience, but I would cast Jenna Gillespie in their planned production of Once on This Island immediately. She got the show off to a lively start with “Waiting for Life” and returned later to sing “Come Down from the Tree,” a song that was cut from the final score. Gillespie was new to the Kritzerland stage and she should be back often as her forceful, heart-rending rendition of “Your Daddy’s Son” from Ragtime brought down the house. Also new to the Kritzerland family was Nick Tubbs who impressed with his boyish charm and strong voice in both “Larger than Life” from My Favorite Year and “Lucky” from Lucky Stiff.

Brittney Bertier was utterly delightful singing the ultimate “adopt a dog” song “Times Like This,” also from Lucky Stiff. She later captivated with “Princess” from A Man of No Importance. That delightful Irish themed musical was also brought vividly to life by Roger Befeler’s rousing “The Streets of Dublin.” Befeler as well proved the worth of the score of the little known The Glorious Ones with his rendition of “I Was Here.” The evening was a Befeler Family Affair as daughter Paige lovingly performed “Journey to the Past” from the animated film (soon to be Broadway musical) Anastasia as well as Seussical’s “Notice Me Horton.” Mrs. Befeler, better known to musical theatregoers as Kim Huber, was in great voice throughout the evening. Her rendition of the beautiful ballad “Raining” from Rocky Das Musical almost made me want to see the show. I said almost. Huber also performed the lively “Looking Back at Myself” from the upcoming Little Dancer musical. Then her voice soared to the rafters with her impassioned delivery of the Women’s Lib Anthem from Ragtime, “Back to Before.” I want a production of that show with this performer as Mother, stat!

Ten-year old Hadley Belle Miller proved herself to be a seasoned trooper with Seussical’s “Alone in the Universe.” She, along with students from the McCoy Rigby Conservatory of the Arts, joined in that show’s “Oh the Things You Can Think” with the National Tour & Broadway’s Cat in the Hat, the effervescent and eternally youthful Cathy Rigby. It was a big production on the small stage and a complete joy. The evening was one of the best Kritzerlands I’ve seen. Next up, on November 6, will be the songs of Stephen Sondheim.


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