The 82nd Kritzerland cabaret evening was held Sunday, November 5 at Sterling’s Upstairs at the Federal. A Styne Romance: The Songs of Jule Styne honored the melodic tunes of the stellar and prolific composer. He wrote the score for his first Broadway musical High Button Shoes in 1947 and his final show The Red Shoes was in 1993. Hmm, his Broadway career was bookended by musical shoes. He won a Tony Award for Hallelujah, Baby! in 1968 and an Oscar for “Three Coins in the Fountain” in 1955. Even though producer/host Bruce Kimmel cobbled together an evening featuring 23 songs, he barely scratched the surface of the Styne oeuvre. As usual there was a great mixture of the well-known and the little-known. A strong cast and the wonderful, accomplished accompaniment by pianist/musical director Alby Potts made for a memorable evening. Sarah Uriarte Berry got the evening off to a rousing start with the first-act closer from Gypsy, “Everything’s Coming Up Roses”. Berry’s big belt socked that song’s emotional highlights through the roof and she did the same with the evening’s closing number, “Don’t Rain on My Parade”. She also had an enchanting, quiet moment with “Never Never Land”. Nick Tubbs did a fine job with the put-together of “Three Coins in the Fountain” and the lovely “Make Someone Happy” from Do Re Mi. He later joined Keri Safran for a strange duet from the musical Subways Are For Sleeping that was actually entitled “Strange Duet”. Safran displayed her comic timing in “Is It a Crime” from Bells Are Ringing while Roger Befeler did a great job with a put-together of the upbeat “I Met a Girl” and the poignant “Long Before I Knew You” from the same show. Earlier Befeler did a cute take on a put-together of the little heard “I’m in Pursuit of Happiness” from a 1957 TV musical version of Ruggles of Red Gap and “You’ll Never Get Away From Me” from Gypsy. Styne had recycled the melody and only at a Kritzerland show would you discover such delightful trivia. Thirteen year old Mackenzie Wrap is a real find as she beautifully sang the bittersweet “Little Lamb” and the infectious “Together Wherever We Go,” both from Gypsy
The following is a love letter to the supremely talented Kim Huber. I don’t remember exactly the first time I saw her in a show but she has wowed me and I have rewarded her with reviews and awards over the years. Yet I find she just keeps getting better; gracefully aging (and that is not an ageist comment, just I’ve known and admired her for years) like fine wine and good cheese. Why is no one writing musicals for this talented performer? Why is no one doing a recording of this amazing voice and letting her sing whatever she wants? I searched the internet for female crooners because that’s the first thing I thought of while listening to her wrap her voice around the put-together of “It’s Been a Long, Long Time” and “Time after Time.” I was not able to find such a list. The closest was a list of female singers like Frances Langford, Alice Faye, Ruth Etting and others who were best known as Big Band Singers. Get Ms. Huber a Big Band ASAP although she doesn’t really need one. With just Potts on piano, she proved that again with her delivery of a second put-together: “Absent Minded Me” a song cut from the score of Funny Girl as well as the classic “People”.