The Internet Theater Magazine of Reviews, Features, Annotated Listings

CurtainUp Feature
Broadway By the Year: The Musicals of the Year Series . ..
By Elyse Sommer

(last reviewed shows are on top)

NEW! The Broadway Musicals of the 1940s

Broadway by The Decade- the Musicals of the 1930s | Broadway Musicals of 1940-1964 Broadway Musicals of 1937 | Broadway Musicals of 1987 | Broadway Musicals of 1975| Broadway Musicals of 1950 | Broadway Musicals of 1946 |The Broadway Musicals of 1997 | The Broadway Musicals of 1982| The Broadway Musicals of 1932 | The Broadway Musicals of 1921| Broadway By The Year 1990-2010 | The Broadway Musicals of 1966 | The Broadway Musicals of 1948 |The Broadway Musicals of 1927|The Broadway Musicals of 1970| The Broadway Musicals of 1944|The Broadway Musicals of 1931|The Broadway Musicals of 1924| The Broadway Musicals of 1965| The Broadway Musicals of 1954| The Broadway Musicals of 1947| The Broadway Musicals of 1964, Part II| The Broadway Musicals of 1959| The Broadway Musicals of 1938| The Broadway Musicals of 1928| The Broadway Musicals of 1978| The Broadway Musicals of 1968| The Broadway Musicals of 1956| The Broadway Musicals of 1930|The Broadway Musicals of 1962|The Broadway Musicals of 1955|The Broadway Musicals of 1945|The Broadway Musicals of 1929| 2005 Schedule for Broadway By the Year |The Broadway Musicals of 1963| From Brooklyn to Hollywood | The Broadway Musicals of 1949 | The Broadway Musicals of 1935 | The Broadway Musicals of 1926 |The Broadway Musicals of 1960 |
Broadway By the Year Host Scott Siegel
About the Broadway by the Year Series
Since he started writing, producing and hosting this entertaining Monday night series, Scott Siegel has gained a large following who attend each event. Having joined the crowd, we've decided to merge our reports so that you can look up who appeared for which year without clicking beyond this page.

Barbara and Scott Siegel
(Photo: Elyse Sommer)
Reviews will appear with the most recent one at the top. You can also click on any review from the indexed list below. Because it was also a single Monday night event and had many Broadway by the Year hallmarks -- same venue, same writer/producer, numerous Broadway by the Year veterans, including host/narrator Tovah Feldshuh -- we've included the May 2nd, 2004 From Broadway to Hollywood and September 27, 2004 Broadway Unplugged events in this omnibus page . For tickets and details about all these evenings, contact the producer of the series, The Town Hall at 123 W. 43rd Street Box office.

The Broadway Musicals of the 1940s
The 1940s were a seedbed of "enchanted evenings" for musical theater lovers. From Oklahoma to South Pacific, show after show brought a rich harvest of gorgeous songs that people who never saw the shows nevertheless came to know and love through recordings by well known singers. These recordings featured many interpretations but I bet you never heard "Some Enchanted Evening" whistled. Yes, whistled! (If you missed Steve "The Whistler" Herbst's amazing rendition of that famous South Pacific ballad at the March 28th concert or are unfamiliar with his virtuoso whistling, you can check him out at his website or on You Tube).

But the enchantingly whistled "Some Enchanted Evening" was, as is usual at these polished concerts, just one highlight. Another unusual intepretation of a breakout tuner was "That Old Devil Moon" from Finian's Rainbow danced by Heather & Lou (that's the remarkable Heather Grantley and Lou Brockman who've taught their "Silver Screen Style" all over the world) and sung by Daniel Reichert.

" Another extraordinary dancer to add to the visual pleasures of the evening was the nimble-footed Kendrick Jones. The entire 9-member cast did full justice to the varied duets. I particularly enjoyed Karen Ziemba's charming and relaxed solos from South Pacific and Pal Joey, and her duet with the Ben Davis. "This Nearly Was Mine" The elegant voice of Mr. Davis was a pleasure to hear "unplugged" in "This Nearly Was Mine.

The entire 9-member cast was outstanding and of course, it wouldn't be a Broadway By the Year Concert" without Creator/Director/Host Scott Siegel's pithy introductions to each number, and Ross Patterson and his little band's excellent instrumental accompaniment to each.

Below is a list of songs and singers. The next installment of this beloved series will cover the Broadway Musicals of 1907-2006 On May 22nd.
Act 1
Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin' - Ben Davis
Younger Than Springtime - Daniel Reichard
How Are Things in Glocca Mora? - Karen Ziemba
Taking a Chance on Love - Klea Blackhurst & Kendrick Jones
Leslie Margherita - I Hate Men
Cockeyed Optimist - Daniel Reichard
That's Him - Klea Blackhurst
I Could Write a Book - Heather & Lou (dance only)
I Got the Sun in the Mornin' - Karen Ziemba
Come Rain or Come Shine - Lesli Margherita
Act 2
I Can Do Anything Better Than You - Lesli Margherita & Ben Davis
Almost Like Being in Love - Daniel Reichard
Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered - Karen Ziemba
Some Enchanted Evening - Steve "The Whistler" Herbst
This Nearly Was Mine - Ben Davis
I've Still Got My Health - Klea Blackhurst
Easy Does It - Kendrick Jones
Right as the Rain - Karen Ziemba
Old Devil Moon - Daniel Reichard w/Heather & Lou
So In Love - Lesli Margherita & Ben Davis
There's No Business Like Show Business - Klea & Company

Broadway by the Decade The Musicals of the 1930 - Reviewed by Elizabeth Ahlfors
Stepping into its 16th year, Scott Siegel's landmark Broadway by the Year has made some changes. Each show now covers a whole decade rather than one year, with fewer artists performing more songs. But music director /pianist Ross Patterson still leads the snappiest Little Big Band around.

Siegel set up the songs with patter about the era. Pianist/singer Billy Stritch shone with suave poignancy with "Isn't it a Pity?" and amped the jazz intrigue of "Comes Love," an Act I highlight. There must be a substantial Nellie McKay fan club for those who appreciate her wistful musicality but McKay's highlight here was channeling the young Judy Garland version of "You Made Me Love You." The winning twist was switching the name of Garland's idol (Clark Gable) to Bernie Sanders. It was clever, political and another crowd-pleaser.

Notable also was Emily Skinner's reflective "I'll Tell the Man in the Street." Michael Winther and guitarist Sean Harkness elegantly teamed voice and guitar with "My Romance" and Brian Charles Rooney returned to the dark roots of Kurt Weill/Bertolt Brecht's, "The Ballad of Mack the Knife."

Unfortunately, Tonya Pinkins was lackluster with her songs until the second act, when Siegel introduced an Irving Berlin song from As Thousands Cheer. Singing about an Afro-American woman whose husband has been lynched, Pinkins brings down the house with a profound, "Supper Time." She also stood out with "September Song."

Another theater veteran, Robert Cuccioli seemed detached, had trouble with his upper register and often fumbled for the notes in “Night and Day” and “Begin the Beguine.” Even his show finale, "As Time Goes By," brought little sentiment to this vastly popular WWII classic.

Included were tap-dancers perking up the show's rhythmic flow. "I Got Rhythm" did the trick here with vocalists Philippa Lynas and Rooney , and improvographed dancing by Luke Hawkins and Michaela Marino Lerman.

Broadway Musicals of 1940-1964">Broadway Musicals of 1940-1964
The beloved Monday Night at The Town Hall series is doing things a bit differently this season. The usual format focuses the entire evening around one year and sandwiches some little known novelties in with the hit shows and breakout tunes. The cast generally features ten or twelve performers. This season Scott Siegel created a fascinating 100-year music theater history lesson, with each of four evenings covering a quarter of a century. The first in the series covered 1950 to 1954, the final two chapters will cover 1965 to 1989 (May 12) and 1990-2014 (June 23)— that's 25 years, and 25 singers (plus a chorus) to make it an impressively big show.

If the March 31st 1940 to 1964 evening is an indication, this adds another feather in Siegel's cap. Given the wealth of shows with tuneful melodies debuting during this quarter century, it must have been quite a task to pick a representative song for each of those 25 years. But as evident from the genial host's always entertaining commentary the choices were just right. Not only were the selections beautiful, but each came with its own nugget of musical background information, whether about the song's impact on the genre, awards won or not won or fun bits of trivia.

While some of the oddball, little known numbers that make up the more conventional BBTY programs were fun, their absence was offset by having a glorious parade of well-known favorites — and having them sung by stellar performers. If there was a downside to this, is that, with just a couple of exceptions, these great voices were heard just once.

Still, the bursting at the seams evening, featured the series' trademark unplugged numbers (see * in the song list below) and some lively choreography, especially Erin Denman and Jeffrey Denman's delightfully choreographed and sung "Two Lost Souls" from Damn Yankees.

In a season when you can count the new musicals with original songs on one hand, with fingers left over, this trip through a quarter century where a new show meant new music was a special treat. The years between 1940 and 1965 were indeed a Golden Era.

Below, the bill of fare. An asterisk* indicates the singer was unplugged. A double dash= indicates the presentation included choreography by the performer.

Act 1
1940 NATALIE DOUGLAS – Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered PAL JOEY
1943 is Marissa McGown/People Will Say We're in Love OKLAHOMA
1946 AMBER IMAN/ Come Rain or Come Shine ST.LOUIS WOMAN
*=1947 JEFFREY SCHECTER /When I'm Not Near the Girl I Love FNIAN'S RAINBOW
1948 ROBERT CUCCIOLI/ Where Thine That Special Face KISS ME KATE
1951 AARON LAZAR/ They Call the Wind Maria PAINT YOUR WAGON
1952 MARILYN MAYE/ Guess Who I Saw Today NEW FACES OF 1952

Act 2
1954 PATRICK PAGE Captain Hook's Waltz with chorus PETER PAN
1959 LISA HOWARD/ Climb Every Mountain SOUND OF MUSIC
1960 BEN DAVIS /If Ever I Would Leave You CAMELOT
1962 GAVIN LEE/ I've Got Your Number LITTLE ME
Marilyn Maye/ Before the Parade Passes HELLO DOLLY!

The Broadway Musicals of 1937

"It's the Bar Mitzvah year for the Broadway by the Year series" proudly announced BBTY creator, writer, host Scott Siegel at the beginning of the first of the four shows that will comprise the thirteenth season in which the devoted followers of the series will continue to embrace the hits from Broadway's past as well as discover lost gems from often forgotten shows.

What is remarkable even though 1937 was the height of the depression, is that Broadway had only two major musical hits: Babes in Armsa showcase of soon-to-be immortal melodies . . . the revue Pins and Needles, as astonishingly presented by the International Ladies Garment Workers Union with its "Song(s) With Social Significance" Songs from to other politically poited shows — Hooray For What! and I'd Rather Be Right, as well as from a couple of operettas were also indicative of the scope and variety of this show and that year's musical textures.

This opening show was basically a concert with a minimum of embellishments — unless you include a bit of baton twirling, a formidable company of song and dance stylists. It was easy enough for Stephen DeRosa to win our grins with the opening "Way Out West," (from Babes), and to see a new side of Tonya Pinkins (I don''t mean her leg through the slit in her gown) most notably with dynamic interpretations of 'The Lady is a Tramp' and 'My Funny Valentine." There is no song that Brian d'Árcy James doesn't sing better than we have heard it before. He and Pinkins had a grand time forgetting lyrics as they lost their path to romance in "I Wish I Were in Love Again."

Tap dancing in a straight-jacket in a number from Sea Legs ( huh?) gave us a clue to what dancer Danny Gardner had in store when in Act II, he, partnered with Brent McBeth and Derek Roland, proving that six flying feet can be quicker than the eye in Doing the Reactionary" from Pins and Needles).

What else could it be but parody at its hilarious best when the glorious voices of Kevin Earley and Elizabeth Stanley blended for the schmaltzy "To Love is To Live"? from the rare Strauss operetta Three Waltzes.

More intimately scaled than previous editions, this sweet homage, under the unobtrusive direction of Mindy Cooper, included the now obligatory nod to singing unplugged. This was exemplified by Earley's resounding "Why Did You Kiss My Heart Awake" from the Franz Lehar operetta Frederika. It contrasted tellingly with Stanley's sock solo "Johnny One-Note" that brought the show to a rousing close.

Bravo to Ross Patterson Little Big Band for their jazzy entr'acte selection. And lest we forget, courtesy of Siegel, 1937 saw the introduction of Spam, the opening of the first McDonald?s, the first Santa Claus training school, and the opening of the Lincoln Tunnel — my portal to Broadway.

The songs, the shows and the Performers ACT 1
Way Out West (BABES IN ARMS) Stephen DeRosa The Lady is a Tramp (BABES IN ARMS) Tonya Pinkins
Have You Met Miss Jones? (I?D RATHER BE RIGHT) Brian d'Árcy James
Buds Won?t Bud (HOORAY FOR WHAT!) Carole J. Bufford
Why Did You Kiss My Heart Awake? (FREDERIKA) Kevin Earley
The Fireman?s Flame (THE FIREMAN?S FLAME) Brian d'Árcy James & Company
I Sometimes Wonder (THREE WALTZES) Carole J. Bufford
Down With Love (HOORAY FOR WHAT!) Kevin Earley
Touched in the Head (SEA LEGS) Danny Gardner (Choreography by Danny Gardner)
Moanin? in the Mornin? (HOORAY FOR WHAT!) Tonya Pinkins
To Love is To Live (THREE WALTZES) Kevin Earley & Elizabeth Stanley (unplugged)

One Big Union For Two (PINS & NEEDLES) Ross Patterson piano, Adam Armstrong bass, Jared Schonig drums, Pete Anderson woodwinds
Sing Me a Song With Social Significance (PINS & NEEDLES) Stephen DeRosa & Company
Where or When (BABES IN ARMS) Elizabeth Stanley & BrianD'Árcy James
I See Your Face Before Me (BETWEEN THE DEVIL) Stephen DeRosa
Nobody Makes a Pass at Me (PINS & NEEDLES) Carole J. Bufford, Tonya Pinkins, Elizabeth Stanley
By Myself (BETWEEN THE DEVIL) BrianD'Árcy James
Why Did You Do It? (BETWEEN THE DEVIL) Carole J. Bufford
My Funny Valentine (BABES IN ARMS) Tonya Pinkins
Doing the Reactionary (PINS & NEEDLES) Danny Gardner, Brent McBeth, Derek Roland (Choreography by Danny Gardner)
I Wish I Were in Love Again (BABES IN ARMS) BrianD'Árcy James & Tonya Pinkins
Johnny One-Note (BABES IN ARMS) Elizabeth Stanley

The Broadway Musicals of 1987
A great evening with the usual suspects — the show's creator, writer and host, Scott Siegel, and music director and the Little-Big Band's pianist, Ross Patterson. Favorite BBTY performer and director Marc Kudisch helmed the evening. Jeffrey Denman and Viebecke Dahle saw to it that there was plenty of dancing. And, hurrah, hurrah, the recently created Broadway by the Year chorus was back. These young future stars were a Wow.

The evening's focus was on two 1987 musicals studded with gorgeous melodies: Les Mserables and Into the Woods. The overture from the latter got things off to a rousing start with the full company (including the 34 chorus members) filling out the stage. The Chorus ended first act and began the second with "One Day" and "Do You Hear the People Sing" from Les Miserables.

Santino Fontana, who was so impressive in one of this season's best knew plays,
Sons of the Prophet, proved to be equally impressive as a silken voiced crooner. Besides the evening's signature shows, the roller skating musical, Starlight Express was given its due -- and, yes, a couple of chorus members actually skated across the stage!

Director Kudisch and choreographer Jeffrey Denman took the stage with a delightful "unplugged" rendition of "Agony " from Into the Woods wich was (deservedly so) reprised in the second act. Kudisch's affable charm was also shown off to great advantage with "Volare," a popular tune from Stardust -- smartly backed by Denman's choreography for members of the chorus. Denman also shone in" Stepping Out" (from the show of the same title), skillfully choreographed for himself and dancers Anna White and Kelley Sheehan.

For an especially interesting bit of casting, there was Danielle Ferland, the original Little Red Riding Hood in Into the Woods. I could go on with shoutouts for tenor Ron Bohmer, Kerry O'Malley and chorus direct Scott Coulter's beautifully sung "Stardust" but you get the idea: The entire program (listed below) was a splendid finale for this invaluable series' 12th season at the Town Hall.

Overture/Into the Woods (INTO THE WOODS) Company
Moments in the Woods (INTO THE WOODS) Kerry O'Malley
Life is Ahead of Me (ROZA) Santino Fontana
The Syncopated Clock (STARDUST) Band Only You (STARLIGHT EXPRESS) Janine DiVita & Santino Fontana
Agony (INTO THE WOODS) Jeffry Denman & Marc Kudisch
There's Me (STARLIGHT EXPRESS) Danielle Ferland
Can I Let Her Go? (TEDDY & ALICE) Ron Bohmer
Moonlight Serenade (STARDUST) Jeffry Denman & Janine DiVita
Happiness Is (ROZA) Kerry O'Malley
One Day More (LES MISERABLES) Broadway by the Year Chorus

Do You Hear the People Sing (LES MISERABLES) Broadway by the Year Chorus
Stardust (STARDUST) Scott Coulter
I Know Things Now (INTO THE WOODS) Danielle Ferland
On My Own (LES MISERABLES) Janine DiVita
Volare (STARDUST) Marc Kudisch with members of BBTY Chorus
No One is Alone (INTO THE WOODS) Danielle Ferland
Agony Reprise (INTO THE WOODS) Jeffry Denman & Marc Kudisch
I Dreamed a Dream (LES MISERABLES) Kerry O'Malley
I Dreamed a Dream (LES MISERABLES) Kerry O'Malley
Stepping Out (STEPPING OUT) Jeffry Denman, Anna White, Kelley Sheehan Stars (LES MISERABLES) Marc Kudisch
Bring Him Home (LES MISERABLES) Ron Bohmer Children Will Listen (INTO THE WOODS) Company
:- I Dreamed a Dream (LES MISERABLES) Kerry O'Malley
Stepping Out (STEPPING OUT) Jeffry Denman, Anna White, Kelley Sheehan Stars (LES MISERABLES) Marc Kudisch
Bring Him Home (LES MISERABLES) Ron Bohmer Children Will Listen (INTO THE WOODS) Company

The Broadway Musicals of 1975
We didn't make it to the Town Hall for this latest chapter in the popular Monday night concert series. It was, as always created, written & hosted by Scott Seael. It featured a new to the series choreographer, Vibecke Dahl. and a Chorus. Following is the line-up of the nmbers and performers.
I Hope I Get It/One (A CHORUS LINE) BBTY Chorus
Home (THE WIZ) Lari White
All I Care About is Love (CHICAGO) Bob Stillman with Dara Hartman, Tricia Burns, Bridget Ori, Oakley Boycott, Jenna Dallaco, Kristin Dausch
Dance: 10; Looks: 3 (A CHORUS LINE) Ashley Brown
Blue Moon (RODGERS & HART – A CELEBRATION) Carole†J. Bufford
Class (CHICAGO) Bob Stillman & Patrick Page
We Make A Beautiful Pair (SHENANDOAH) Lari White
You've Been a Good Old Wagon (ME AND BESSIE) Carole J. Bufford
I've Heard It All Before (SHENANDOAH) Patrick Page
My Own Best Friend (CHICAGO) Ashley Brown
All That Jazz (CHICAGO) Kristin Beth Williams with Kyle Scatliffe, Mary Lane Haskell, Paul Pontrelli, Amanda Savan, Housso Semon

Freedom (SHENANDOAH) Lari White & BBTY Chorus
The Only Home I Know (SHENANDOAH) Bob Stillman
Bewitched, Bothered & Bewildered (RODGERS & HART – A CELEBRATION) Lari White
After You've Gone (ME AND BESSIE) Carole J. Bufford
If You Believe (THE WIZ) Scott Coulter
At The Ballet (A CHORUS LINE) Carole J. Bufford, Lari White, Ashley Brown
Sweet Transvestite (THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW) Patrick Page with Jeff Raab, Carolyn Amaradio, Courtney Simmons, Amanda Savan & BBTY Chorus
Time Warp (THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW) Patrick Page with Graham Bailey,
Oakley Boycott, Emily Iaquinta & BBTY Chorus
Be A Lion (THE WIZ) Ashley Brown
The Music And The Mirror (A CHORUS LINE) Nadine Isenegger
What I Did For Love (A CHORUS LINE) Full Company

The Broadway Musicals of 1950

Created, written and hosted as usual by Scott Siegel, Directed by Alexander Gemingnani, and with choreography by Maddy Apple & Kendrick Jones.
Anyone who has regularly attended the Broadway by the Year series over the past twelve years would be hard pressed to name the very best edition. But the current one celebrating a year that contained an American classic by still up-and-coming Frank Loesser plus others by the more seasoned greats Irving Berlin and Cole Porter has to be considered among the very best. Host, creator, writer Scott Siegel contributed, as always, the amusingly informative through-lines while also reminding us that 1950 was the year the credit card was introduced, silly putti was invented, and the McCarthy witch-hunt hearings began.

Under the snappy direction of Alexander Gemignani, the show boasted twenty-eight stand-out numbers from eight shows, but with five songs coming from the hit-tunes-aplenty Guys and Dolls. From this classic musical comedy, Tony Award-winner (The Drowsy Chaperone), Beth Leveal scored mightily with "Adelaide's Lament, and even more so with her incrementally dramatic "From This Moment On" from Porter's Out of this World. She and Bobby Steggert) beamed through the diverting duet "You're Just in Love" from Call Me Madam. From the same show, Steggert was on his own to deliver a disarmingly "It's a Lovely Day Today."

Steggert and Gemignani sang an unexpectedly poignant "There's a Building Going Up" (about the hopes and dreams that revolved around the building of the United Nations Building) and then joined forces with Matt Cavenaugh, Bill Daugherty, and Aaron Lazar for the show's raunchiest and funniest number "You've Never Been Loved (unless you've been loved below the border)" from Michael Todd's Peep Show. Among other highlights were Daugherty's hilariously high-spirited rendition (no electronic enhancement) of "Sit Down, You're Rockin' the Boat," and Gemignani's beautifully sung (also without electronic enhancement) unplugged) "Build My House," a gem from Leonard Bernstein's mini-score for the version of Peter Pan that starred Jean Arthur and Boris Karloff.

Kudos to Kendrick Jones for his uniquely stylized dancing and to the company's two sopranos — stunning blonde Elisabeth Stanley for her rambunctious "Nobody's Chasing Me," and to radiant brunette mother-to-be Jenny Powers for her "Cherry Pies Ought to be You," as sung in cahoots with Cavenaugh, her noticeably adoring husband. On stage, The Ross Patterson Little Band provided splendid instrumental support.

Following the running order of the songs (2 were unplugged) and shows presented:
Act 1
Luck Be A Lady (GUYS & DOLLS) Matt Cavenaugh
I'll Know (GUYS & DOLLS) Elizabeth Stanley & Alexander Gemignani
They Couldn't Compare To You (OUT OF THIS WORLD) Bill Daugherty
The Best Thing For You (CALL ME MADAM) Aaron Lazar
Nobody's Chasing Me (OUT OF THIS WORLD) Elizabeth Stanley
Cherry Pies Ought To Be You (OUT OF THIS WORLD) Jenny Powers & Matt Cavenaugh
It's a Lovely Day Today (CALL ME MADAM) Bobby Steggert
Dream With Me (PETER PAN) Jenny Powers (unplugged)
One! Two! Three! (ALIVE AND KICKING) Kendrick Jones & Alexander Gemignani
There's A Building Going Up (ALIVE AND KICKING) Bobby Steggert, Alexander Gemignani, Matt Cavenaugh
Adelaide's Lament (GUYS & DOLLS) Beth Leavel

Act 2
Fugue For Tin Horns (GUYS & DOLLS) Bill Daugherty, Bobby Steggert, Aaron Lazar
Darn It Baby, That's Love (TICKETS, PLEASE!) Jenny Powers & Matt Cavenaugh
A World of Strangers (ALIVE AND KICKING) Elizabeth Stanley & Aaron Lazar
Sit Down, You're Rockin' The Boat (GUYS & DOLLS) Bill Daugherty (unplugged)
You've Never Been Loved (MICHAEL TODD'S PEEP SHOW) Alexander Gemignani & Matt Cavenaugh, with Bill Daugherty, Aaron Lazar, Bobby Steggert
You're Just In Love (CALL ME MADAM) Beth Leavel & Bobby Steggert
I'm The Girl (DANCE ME A SONG) Elizabeth Stanley
Pocketful of Dreams (MICHAEL TODD'S PEEP SHOW) Kendrick Jones
From This Moment On (OUT OF THIS WORLD) Beth Leavel
Build My House (PETER PAN) Alexander Gemignani (unplugged)
Use Your Imagination (OUT OF THIS WORLD) Company
Guys & Dolls (GUYS & DOLLS) Company

The Broadway Musicals of 1946
The year 1946 which launches the 12th season of the Broadway by the Year series was indeed one alive with new beginnings after a long war. As host Scott Siegel pointed out in his as always entertaining and enlightening introduction, 1946 marked the birth of the first Baby Boomers. But while Broadway had its share of shows, the only one that seeded instantly recognized, often recorded standard songs was Irving Berlin's Annie Get Your Gun. It's therefore not surprising that numbers from that show dominated the February 13th evening, many delivered by Tom Wopat who played Frank Butler in the 1999 Broadway revival. But this top-heavy on Berlin's big hit, with just one unplugged song from a show that actually never made it into a Broadway house, was saved from being one of the series' lesser offerings by the incredibly versatile and talented Noah Racey.

At the risk of repeating myself, someone really ought to write a show for Racey to demonstrate his strengths as a choreographer, dancer and as a charming and witty singer. the dance sequences of the 1946 evening were the most sophisticated and smartly staged and performed ever mounted on the relatively small space of the Town Hall stage. In Sara Brians, who served as his assistant director/choreographer, Racey always found his perfect right hand-- and foot. Brians, who has an impressive resume as a Broadway choreographer is, like Racey a terrific dancer and singer.

The single unplugged number, "My Heart Belongs to You," was gorgeously sung by Ben Davis who, unlike the other guests, made only one appearance. Musical accompaniment and direction was as usual supplied by Ross Patterson.

You can count on plenty of hit songs from hit shows in the upcoming featured years: March 19, 2012, BROADWAY MUSICALS OF 1950, featuring the musicals Guys & Dolls, Call Me Madam, Out of This World, Dance Me A Song and more . . .May 14, 2012, BROADWAY MUSICALS OF 1975, featuring A Chorus Line, The Wiz, Chicago, The Rocky Horror Show, Shenandoah and more. . .June 11, 2012, BROADWAY MUSICALS OF 1987, featuring Les Miserables, Starlight Express, Into the Woods, Stepping Out, Stardust and more.

Here's a list of the songs, the shows they're from and who sang them:
There's No Business Like Show Business (ANNIE GET YOUR GUN) Company
Any Place I Hang My Hat is Home (ST LOUIS WOMAN) Marilyn Maye
I Wonder What Became of Me (ST LOUIS WOMAN) Tom Wopat
My Business Man (IF THE SHOE FITS) Alice Ripley
A Woman's Prerogative (ST LOUIS WOMAN) Dameka Hayes
The Old Soft Shoe (THREE TO MAKE READY) Sara Brians & Noah Racey
with Kiira Schmidt, Vanessa Sonon, Danny Gardner, Luke Hawkins
They Say it's Wonderful (ANNIE GET YOUR GUN) Alice Ripley & Tom Wopat
I Want to Go to City College (TOPLITZKY OF NOTRE DAME) Danny Gardner
I've Got Me (BEGGAR'S HOLIDAY) Tom Wopat
Love Remains the Same (CALL ME MISTER) Noah Racey with Sara Brians & Danny Gardner
I Got Lost in His Arms (ANNIE GET YOUR GUN) Marilyn Maye
I Got the Sun in the Morning (ANNIE GET YOUR GUN) Jessie Mueller

My Defenses Are Down (ANNIE GET YOUR GUN) Tom Wopat
Where is My Hero? (BEGGAR'S HOLIDAY) Dameka Hayes, Jessie Mueller, Alice Ripley
Take Love Easy (BEGGAR'S HOLIDAY) Tom Wopat
Legalize My Name (ST LOUIS WOMAN) Dameka Hayes with Noah Racey
I Had Myself a True Love (ST LOUIS WOMAN) Alice Ripley
Bitter Harvest (LUTE SONG) Jessie Mueller
My Heart Belongs to You (THE LAND OF SMILES) Ben Davis (Unplugged)
South America, Take It Away (CALL ME MISTER) Noah Racey with Sara Brians, Kiira Schmidt, Vanessa Sonon
Anything You Can Do (ANNIE GET YOUR GUN) Jessie Mueller & Tom Wopat
Come Rain or Come Shine (ST LOUIS WOMAN) Marilyn Maye

The Broadway Musicals of 1997>
The series' season finale saw singer Christine Noll assume a new role as director. Jeffry Denman once again served as choreographer and performer. Denman also delivered the only two songs presented without mikes or unplugged. And of course Scott Siegel did his usual turn as host and background commentator, with Ross Patterson at the piano of the band. I wasn't able to attend but I had a first-hand, enthusiastic report from my neighbor and Curtainup reader Kenny Kasman. Kenny, who hasn't missed a show since the By-the-Year series began (in fact we first met on the F train headed to our block apart apartments after one of the BBTY evenings), found himself especially taken with the June 20th evening. As he explained "None of these shows were my favorite musicals. I probably liked the 1997 season less than any in my memory. That's why I was blown by the superb performances which made every number wonderful." Excellent as everyone was, Kenny felt Lillas White probably stole top honors. His favorite dance number was " Goody Goody" with Erin Denman, Jennifer Rias, Jeffry Denman and Drew Humphrey. If there were any surprises, it was that with powerhouse singers like Lillas White and Chuck Cooper, to name just two, the only unplugged singing was done by Denman. In his opinion everyone could have sung unplugged and come across perfectly.

Here's a list of the songs, the shows they're from and who sang them:
This Is The Moment (JEKYLL & HYDE) by Robert Cuccioli
Storybook (THE SCARLETT PIMPERNEL) Christine Andreas
Willing To Ride (STEEL PIER) Karen Ziemba
Too Marvelous for Words (DREAM) Erin & Jeffry Denman
Easy Money (THE LIFE) Tyler Maynard
Don't Take Too Much (THE LIFE) Chuck Cooper
Satin Doll (Dream) Jennifer Rias, Jeffry Denman, Drew Humphrey, David Burnham
Can You Feel The Love Tonight (THE LION KING) Christina Bianco
Serenity (TRIUMPH OF LOVE) Christiane Noll
Who Will Love Me As I Am? (SIDE SHOW) David Burnham and Tyler Maynard
Someone Like You (JEKYLL & HYDE) Linda Eder
There She is/Godspeed Titanic (TITANIC) Company (unplugged)

Goody Goody (DREAM) Erin Denman, Jennifer Rias, Jeffry Denman, Drew Humphrey
Second Chance (STEEL PIER) Karen Ziemba
Two Little Words (STEEL PIER) Christina Bianco
Barrett's Song (TITANIC) David Burnham
It's A Dangerous Game (JEKYLL & HYDE) Robert Cuccioli and Linda Eder
When I Look At You (THE SCARLETT PIMPERNEL) Christine Andreas
Use What You Got (THE LIFE) Jeffry Denman (unplugged)
The Oldest Profession (THE LIFE) Lillias White
Once Upon A Dream (JEKYLL & HYDE) Christiane Noll
In His Eyes (JEKYLL & HYDE) Linda Eder and Christiane Noll
The Circle of Life (THE LION KING) Company

The Broadway Musicals of 1982
We weren't able to make it to The Town Hall, but here's a list of what we (and hopefully, not you, missed):
The evening was, as always created, written and hosted by Scott Siegel. It was directed by Scott Thompson, choreographed by Mark Stuart, and musical direction (another as always) Ross Patterson. The lack of markers to indicate a song as being presented "unplugged" is not a mistake. However, a new to BBTY choreographer, Mark Stuart, more than made up for any disappointments.

Memory (CATS) Liz Callaway
Spring, Spring, Spring! (SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS) Kerry O'Malley & Kevin Earley
When Your Lover Has Gone (BLUES IN THE NIGHT) Kenita Miller
Macavity: The Mystery Cat (CATS) Courtney Reed & Jessica Patty, with Mark Stuart, Jessica Press, Amy Ryerson, Sarah O'Gleby
Things I Learned in High School (IS THERE LIFE AFTER HIGH SCHOOL?) Kevin Earley Gus, the Theatre Cat (CATS) Stephen Mo Hanan
Nothing Really Happened (IS THERE LIFE AFTER HIGH SCHOOL?) Barbara Walsh
Summer in the City (ROCK 'N ROLL! THE FIRST 5,000 YEARS) Marcus Paul James, Courtney Reed, Jessica Patty, with Amy Ryerson, Jessica Press, Sarah O'Gleby, Marcos Santana, Grady Bowman, Ricky Tripp
My Husband Makes Movies (NINE) Karen Akers
Guido's Song (NINE) Ron Bohmer, with Kerry O'Malley, Jessica Patty, Courtney Reed, Barbara Walsh

Blues in the Night (BLUES IN THE NIGHT) Kenita Miller
Fran & Janie (IS THERE LIFE AFTER HIGH SCHOOL?) Kerry O'Malley& Barbara Walsh
The Kid Inside (IS THERE LIFE AFTER HIGH SCHOOL?) Craig Carnelia
Sobbin' Women (SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS) Ron Bohmer & Kevin Earley Unusual Way (NINE) Barbara Walsh
Taking a Chance on Love (BLUES IN THE NIGHT) Alan H. Green, with Courtney Reed, Amy Ryerson, Jessica Press, Sarah O'Gleby, Marcos Santana, Grady Bowman, Ricky Tripp
Learn to be Lonely (A DOLL'S LIFE) Kerry O'Malley
Be On Your Own (NINE) Karen Akers
Getting Tall (NINE) Mercer Patterson & Ron Bohmer
Wonderful, Wonderful Day (SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS) Company

Time Out to Celebrate The Town Hall
Town Hall
We don't usually cover one night runs. But the Broadway by the Year series is a happy exception and we try not to miss any of each season's four nights. In the years we've been adding our comments to each new BBTY night the show has gotten better and better, more polished and with more dancing to go with the singing which is consistently wonderful whether the singers use mikes or performed in the BBTY unplugged, a popular highlight of the series. The one thing that's remained unchanged is the show's creator and host Scott Siegel's witty and enlightening commentary.

Siegel who's small in stature but a giant when it comes to energy, produces a number of other musical events for The Town Hall, and that included the May 2nd celebration of that unique venue's 90th Birthday. This New York landmark indeed has more to celebrate than its longevity (though in a city where buildings are constantly torn down to make room for newer more trendy ones, maintaining its presence on 43rd Street all these years warrants a toast). The big hip, hip and hurrah, however, stems from The Town Hall's role in giving so many voices and talents a chance to be seen and heard. Where else could Scott Siegel have fine tuned Broadway by the Year into a series with a loyal and ever growing following?

Though not designed as a concert hall but as a civic auditorium with a vision for becoming "the hall for the people" The architectural firm of McKim, Mead and White erected the building under the auspices of The League for Political Education with the mission of educating women who had just won the right to vote. But even as the mission of serving as a civic auditorium was fulfilled, often daring to book speakers not given a platform elsewhere, word got out that The Town Hall's acoustics were superb and the educational mission was broadened to include entertainment and some of the best musical talent contributed to making the 43rd Street venue a hot spot for nurturing topnotch entertainment.

As Scott Siegel was an apt host for the May 2nd celebratory concert since it was The Town Hall that enabled him to make his dream of producing these tributes to cabaret and musical theater come true, so the entertainers he assembled all had stories to tell of The Town Hall as a nurturing environment for their talents. They included Tovah Feldshuh, Liz Callaway and Jason Robert Brown, and the charming choreographers Jeffrey Denman and Noah Racey doing a foot tapping duet. The evening's most moving moment and tribute to continuity came from guitarists John "Bucky" Pizzarelli and son "Half-A-Buck" John Pizzarelli. With dysfunctional families dominating the drama scene, what a joy to see the Pizarellis a testament to happy families -- not to mention the familial bond that Siegel has created with the entertainers who return to the series again and again.

Broadway Musicals of 1932
1932 was a great year for music so I was dismayed not to be able to be there to hear the songs. Reports from some friends and colleagues underscored my dismay since it was a grand evening. As usual, it was written & hosted by Scott Siegel. The evenings' director waScott Coulter and Mr. Charm and Fleet-Foot, Jeffry Denman served as Choreographer. Following is a list of the songs, the show source and the performers and when performed in the BBTY unplugged tradition.
Act l
Manhattan Madness (FACE THE MUSIC) Carole J. Bufford, Scott Coulter, Bill Daugherty, Jeffry Denman, Jason Graae, Kendrick Jones, Christiane Noll, Meredith Patterson
Alone Together (FLYING COLORS) William Michals
April in Paris (WALK A LITTLE FASTER) Christiane Noll
On a Roof in Manhattan (FACE THE MUSIC) Meredith Patterson & Jeffry Denman
A Rainy Day (FLYING COLORS) Bill Daugherty
Speaking of Love (WALK A LITTLE FASTER) Jason Graae
After You, Who? (GAY DIVORCE) Meredith Patterson
It's Only a Paper Moon (TAKE A CHANCE) Scott Coulter, Bill Daugherty, Jeffry Denman, Jason Graae, William Michals
Forsaken Again (EARL CARROLL'S VANITIES) William Michals
Satan's Li'l Lamb (AMERICANA) Carole J. Bufford
I Gotta Right to Sing the Blues (EARL CARROLL'S VANITIES) Kendrick Jones
Brother, Can You Spare a Dime? (AMERICANA) Bill Daugherty (unplugged)

Act 2
Rockin' in Rhythm (EARL CARROLL'S VANITIES) Scott Coulter, Bill Daugherty, Christiane Noll with Kendrick Jones
Through the Years (THROUGH THE YEARS) William Michals (unplugged)
Torch (FACE THE MUSIC) Carole J. Bufford Let's Have Another Cup of Coffee (FACE THE MUSIC) Meredith Patterson & Jeffry Denman
I've Told Every Little Star (MUSIC IN THE AIR) Scott Coulter You Must Be Born With It (FACE THE MUSIC) Jason Graae with Kendrick Jones

My Lover (TAKE A CHANCE) Christiane Noll
A Shine on Your Shoes (FLYING COLORS) Jeffry Denman
Night and Day (GAY DIVORCE) Bill Daugherty
The Song is You (MUSIC IN THE AIR) Christiane Noll & William Michals (unplugged)
Manhattan Madness (FACE THE MUSIC) Company

Broadway Musicals of 1921
To borrow from one of the songs, the year 1921 made for "Easy Pickin'" to showcase the talented performers and Jeffrey Denman's expertize as director, choreographer, singer and dancer. The man is a treasure chest of talent — and not to be overlooked, charm!

To get this first in the popular Broadway By the Year series going, Stephen Mo Hanan, who's the closest we can come to bringing the great Al Jolson back to the stage, gave the audience a rousing "Toot Toot Tootsie" from a show called Bombo. With direction by the twinkle toed Denman and his on stage and in life dancing partner Erin, it was an evening rich with eye-popping dancing. Even the straight singing solos and duets were helmed with plenty of graceful moves. For an extra dose of dance sizzle, BBTY's favorite Kendrick Jones was on hand to tap his way through several numbers: In act one, a snappy "Everybody Step" from The Music Box Revue. and, in a spectacular second act "I'm Just Wild About Harry" which included the evening's second appearance of ten high-kicking Ziegfeld Girls —only these lively ladies were called (what else?) The Siegfeld Follies Girls.

The many BBTY regulars who've come to expect certain hallmarks — songs sung unplugged as the were before the age of amplification . . .one or two novelty numbers the audience probably never heard of -- or will again In the unplugged category, Erin Davie and Kevin Early were terrific whether together or alone, and Stephen Mo Hanan applied his Jolsenesque pipes to "April Showers" (also from Bombo). Liz Lark Brown was a terrific choice for the evening's novelty specialist, winning deserved cheers for bravely tackling a forgettable little ditty called Hokey Pokey-- not the one everyone knows but one from The Greenwich Village Follies. The lady did prove that she could belt out a torch song with a poignant "My Man" from The Ziefeld Follies of 1921.

As usual, the creator, writer and host of the series put the year's musical in its broader historic context, while Ross Patterson and his fine musicians, accompanied the performers. The evening ended with everyone on stage — including our genial and enterprising host and those Siegfeld beauties.

P.S. Mark your calendar for March 21, May 16 and June 20th for the Broadway Musicals of 1932, 1982 and 1992.

Below a list of the songs, the shows and the performers:
Act I
Toot 'Toot Tootsie (BOMBO) Stephen Mo Hanan
Second Hand Rose (THE ZIEGFELD FOLLIES OF 1921) Liz Lark Brown
Just Like You (TWO LITTLE GIRLS IN BLUE) Bobby Steggert & Erin Denman Say It With Music (THE MUSIC BOX REVUE) Erin Davie (unplugged)
Easy Pickin's (GOOD MORNING DEARIE) Stephen Mo Hanan Honeymoon (TWO LITTLE GIRLS IN BLUE) Kate Baldwin
In Honeysuckle Time (SHUFFLE ALONG) Jeffry Denman
Song of Love (BLOSSOM TIME) Erin Davie & Kevin Earley (unplugged)
Everybody Step (THE MUSIC BOX REVUE) Kendrick Jones
The Very Next Girl I See (BOMBO) Kevin Earley & The Siegfeld Follies Girls

Act Il
Oh Me! Oh My! (TWO LITTLE GIRLS IN BLUE) Jeffry Denman & Jennifer Rias
Dolly (TWO LITTLE GIRLS IN BLUE) Bobby Steggert
Let Me Awake (BLOSSOM TIME) Erin Davie & Kevin Earley
Avalon (BOMBO) Kate Baldwin
April Showers (BOMBO) Stephen Mo Hanan (unplugged)
The Gypsy Trail (TWO LITTLE GIRLS IN BLUE) Kevin Earley
I'm Just Wild About Harry (SHUFFLE ALONG) Kendrick Jones & The Siegfeld Follies Girls (unplugged)
My Man (THE ZIEGFELD FOLLIES OF 1921) Liz Lark Brown California, Here I Come (BOMBO) Company

Broadway By The Year 1990-2010
Scott Siegel, Director Scott Coulter and the Town Hall series' usual cast of stellar performers have set themselves quite a challenge for this Tenth Anniversary finale: to perform one song from one show from each year between 1990 and 2010. It added up to 21 different songs from 21 different shows and it proved to be a fitting windup to this terrific anniversary season.

Naturally an evening covering the 20 seasons that Scott Siegel has been drawing ever larger and more enthusiastic audiences to his wonderful Broadway by the Year Series at the Town Hall, is bound to have some omissions. But director Scott Coulter, who also performed, did a great job of selecting songs in keeping with the way these concerts reinvigorate the musical theater's songbook by presenting the stick to to the ears songs from Broadway hit shows as well as pulling all manner of musical gems from the less successful shows— and giving them new nuance, polish and charm courtesy of the stellar performers who make up the Broadway by the Year family.

One song from Chicago (1996), which though not covered in this celebratory retrospective, sums up this evening and all the ones that preceded it is "Class. " Everything about these shows and this evening turns that musical lament on its head. Class may not be as much in evidence as we'd like it to be but last Monday's concert once again proved that Broadway by the Year is a class act!

Under Coulter's direction, it was one terrific song after another so that it's hard to pinpoint a standout in this outstanding evening. Bobby Steggart, who appeared in both the splendid and too short-lived revival of Ragtime), starred in Yank and is playing in a new play at Lincoln Center before returning to Yank when it opens on Broadway, delivered a knockout rendition of "Larger Than Life" from My Favorite Year. Ann Harada proved that "Electricity" could blaze even without the title character from Billy Elliot dancing up a storm. But for those of us who've come to love the series' choreography, there was the spectacularly talented Kendrick Jones to give us his own eye-popping interpretation of "Green, Chaney, Buster, Slyde" from the 1996 hit Bring in Da Noise, Bring in Da Funk. Another choreography enhanced number was "I've Got the World on a String" from this year's Come Fly Away.

You need only browse through the song list and performers below to see that I could go on and on. Suffice it to say, that Broadway by the Year creator and host Scott Siegel is a man with class, who knows how to assemble a classy cast and tie these evenings together with his always witty and informative commentary.

While Siegel did the usual tributes to the show's sponsors and his beloved Barbara, but this time he too received a touching tribute from Scott Coulter. In case you missed the evening, Broadway by the Year will be back at The Town Hall next year-- but even before then Siegel will be even before then with The Town Hall's Broadway Festival, consisting of Broadway Winners! on July 12, Broadway's Rising Stars on July 19 and All Singin' All Dancin on July 26. Our cabaret columnist, Elizabeth Ahlfors will review all three. Following the running order of songs. . .
` 1990 - Love Changes Everything (ASPECTS OF LOVE) Max von Essen, Alexander Gemignani, Scott Coulter
1991 - Hold On (THE SECRET GARDEN) Kerry O'Malley
1992 - Larger Than Life (MY FAVORITE YEAR) Bobby Steggert
1993 - She's a Woman (KISS OF THE SPIDER WOMAN) Michael Winther
1994 - As If We Never Said Goodbye (SUNSET BOULEVARD) Karen Mason
1995 - Swinging on a Star (SWINGING ON A STAR) Debbie Gravitte & Gregg Edelman
1996 - Green, Chaney, Buster, Slyde (BRING IN DA NOISE, BRING IN DA FUNK) Kendrick Jones (Choreographer)
1997 - Someone Like You (JEKYLL & HYDE) Douglas Ladnier
1998 - Make Them Hear You (RAGTIME) Norm Lewis
1999 - Tell My Father (THE CIVIL WAR) Scott Coulter
2000 - How Many Women in the World? (THE WILD PARTY) Marc Kudisch
BONUS - Woman (SMOKEY JOE'S CAFE) Karen Mason, Barbara Walsh, Julia Murney, Lari White

2001- The Winner Takes It All (MAMMA MIA!) Lari White
2002 - I Cannot Hear the City (SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS) Gregg Edelman
2003 - Defying Gravity (WICKED) Debbie Gravitte
2004 - Unworthy of Your Love (ASSASSINS) Alexander Gemignani & Ann Harada
2005 - Can't Take My Eyes Off of You (JERSEY BOYS) Max von Essen
2006 - Another Winter in a Summer Town (GREY GARDENS) Barbara Walsh
2007 - I Miss the Music (CURTAINS) Alexander Gemignani
2008 - Electricity (BILLY ELLIOT) Ann Harada
2009 - So Anyway (NEXT TO NORMAL) Julia Murney
2010 - I've Got the World on a String (COME FLY AWAY) Michael Winther & Spencer Liff (Choreographer)
FINALE - Seasons of Love (RENT) Company

The Broadway Musicals of 1966
Fred Astraire and Gene Kelly have found an heir to be proud of in Jeffry Denman who's not only a superb singer and dancer, but now proves himself to be a savvy director. With Denham both directing and choreographing (and performing) The Broadway Musicals of 1966 it won't come as a surprise that every step and move, and even the cast's costumes, had the wit and polish of the source material — but with that special Denman dazzle.

Of course, besides being the danciest ever in this popular Town Hall series, the evening had the advantage of focusing on a year that was a true feast of shows boasting lots of great dance numbers and breakout hit songs — not to mention, the always amusing and informative background commentary by BBTY creator and host Scott Siegel to put everything into context.

The show was bookended by delightfully staged ensemble numbers, with " Wilkommen" from Cabaret to set the welcoming tone and a brilliantly orchestrated "Rhythm of Life" from Sweet Charity winding things up.

Besides the ensemble and duets, there were some beautifully rendered standout solos, like Liz Callaway's "Where Am I Going?" from Sweet Charity and "If He Walked Into My Life" from Mame. And speaking of Mame, "My Best Girl" written for the title character's ten year old nephew brought a new unknown talent to the Town Hall Stage: Six-year-old Mercer Patterson who was accompanied on the piano by his justly proud dad, BBTY's invaluable music director Ross Patterson. Mercer who fits that cliche "you could eat him up" displayed incredible poise, as well as a sweet voice. Maestro Patterson has definitely fathered a rising star.

If you haven't already done so, mark June 14th on your calendar. To celebrate its 10th Anniversary season, this final installment will feature a song from each of the last 21 years and 21 stars to sing them.

Following a list of the 1966 show's songs, their show source and the performers:
Wilkommen (CABARET) Company
You've Got Possibilities (IT'S A BIRD. . . IT'S A PLANE. . . IT'S SUPERMAN) Kerry O'Malley
If My Friends Could See Me Now (SWEET CHARITY) Meredith Patterson
Gooch's Song (MAME) Michele Ragusa
Bosom Buddies (MAME) Kerry O'Malley & Sara Gettelfinger
Money, Money (CABARET - film) Jeffry Denman, Elizabeth Clinard, Jennifer Rias
Where Am I Going? (SWEET CHARITY) Liz Callaway
I Love My Wife (I DO! I DO!) Shoran Wiley & Meredith Patterson
The Honeymoon is Over (I DO! I DO!) Robert Cuccioli & Michele Ragusa My Best Girl (MAME) Mercer Patterson
What Makes It Happen? (WALKING HAPPY) Carole J. Bufford
There's Gotta Be Something Better Than This (SWEET CHARITY) Sara Gettelfinger, Jennifer Rias, Elizabeth Clinard

We Need A Little Christmas (MAME) Bob Stillman, Elizabeth Clinard, Meredith Patterson, Shoran Wiley
Big Spender (SWEET CHARITY) Meredith Patterson, Kerry O'Malley, Sara Gettelfinger, Jennifer Rias, Elizabeth Clinard
Gorgeous (THE APPLE TREE) Michele Ragusa
The Spider & the Fly (POUSSE-CAFE) Jennifer Rias with Shoran Wiley & Jeffry Denman
Married (CABARET) Kerry O'Malley & Bob Stillman
Too Many Tomorrows (SWEET CHARITY) Robert Cuccioli
Walking Happy (WALKING HAPPY) Jeffry Denman
If He Walked Into My Life (MAME) Liz Callaway My Cup Runneth Over (I DO! I DO!) Bob Stillman
Cabaret (CABARET) Kerry O'Malley
Rhythm of Life (SWEET CHARITY) Company

The Broadway Musicals of 1948
Created, Written, and Hosted by Scott Siegel; directed by Stuart Ross; music direction by Ross Patterson

The terrific launch for the tenth season of the BBTY series with The Broadway Musicals of 1927 left me a bit worried. How was Scott Siegel going to match that incredibly entertaining, melody and dance rich evening? But not to worry. Siegel, strongly aided and abetted by Stuart Ross as director and BBTY's own big little band leader Ross Patterson —and, of course, a stellar cast— managed to make a feast out of even selections from little known shows like Lend Me an Ear, Make Mine Manhattan and Love Life. The sensational cast made selections from Cole Porter's masterpiece, Kiss Me Kate, newly thrilling and 1948's fun hit Where's Charley more delightfully amusing than ever.

Director Ross, who's probably best known as writer/director of that forever being done somewhere hit Forever Plaid, made his mark more recently with the York Theater's Enter Laughing: The Musical. The Town Hall evening reunited him with Josh Grisetti, that production's endearing young hero. Grisetti who looks a bit like a young Ray Bolger (many of the old-timers at Town Hall may also see a resemblance to child movie actor Freddie Bartholomew) was in fine voice. His contributions included a delightful duet with Bobby Steggert from Where's Charlie.

Steggert was another of the evening's blue chips assets, as was triple threat (choreographer/dancer/singer) Jeffry Denman with whom he's currently appearing in one of the season's best little musicals, Yank (also a York Theater production). The pair's rendition of "Brush Up Your Shakespeare-" with the musical staging brushed up by Denman was a well-deserved show stopper. Denman also partnered up with wife and co-choreographer Erin Denman. Their " Too Darn Hot" was indeed hot. Some talented musical creators should surely come up with a musical for The Denman's to choreograph and perform in with Bobby Steggert.

Another stellar choreographer and favorite of this series, Noah Racey wound up the first act with one of the most amusing and dashing interpretations of "Once in Love With Amy" that I've ever seen. Rah, rah, Racey!

The evening's guest star, the charismatic singer/songwriter Melissa Manchester dazzled with a little known song, "Haunted Heart" from a little known show, Inside U.S.A. and one of the many break out ballads from Kiss Me Kate," From This Moment On." International opera star, John Easterlin lent his thrilling tenor to "Penambuco" from Where's Charley and proved that opera singers can be very funny with a hilarious rendition of an odd number entitled " Schraffts" from Make Mine Manhattan Easterlin's numbers as well as William Michals' "Were Thine That Special Face" were true to BBTY tradition performed without mikes.

If you missed the BBTY 1948 evening, mark May 10th and June 14th in your calendar for the next two concerts (The Broadway Musicals of 1966 and a special anniversary roundup of the Musicals of 1990-20010. For more about what songs and shows were included and who sang them, below a list, in the order that they were presented:

Act I
Another Op'nin', Another Show (Kiss Me, Kate) Farah Alvin, Josh Grisetti, William Michals, John Easterlin, Kristen Dausch, Erin Denman, Jeffry Denman, Bobby Steggert
Where Is The Life That Late I Led? (Kiss Me, Kate) William Michals
Neurotic You And Psychopathic Me (Lend An Ear) Erin Denman & Jeffry Denman
Economics (Love Life) Kristin Dausch
Make A Miracle (Where's Charley?) Josh Grisetti & Farah Alvin
Pernambuco (Where's Charley?) John Easterlin
It Takes A Woman To Take A Man (As The Girls Go) Kristen Dausch, Farah Alvin, Erin Denman
Nobody's Heart But Mine (As The Girls Go) Bobby Steggert
Rhode Island Is Famous For You (Inside U.S.A.) Josh Grisetti
Haunted Heart (Inside U.S.A.) Melissa Manchester
So In Love (Kiss Me, Kate) William Michals
Once In Love With Amy (Where's Charley?) Noah Racey

Act Ii
The New Ashmolean Marching Society And Students' Conservatory Band (Where's Charley?) Josh Grisetti & Bobby Steggert
Give Your Heart A Chance To Sing (Lend An Ear) Erin Denman, Kristin Dausch, Farah Ivin
The Emerald (Magdalena) John Easterlin Unplugged
I Remember It Well (Love Life) Bobby Steggert & Farah Alvin
Mr. Right (Love Life) Kristin Dausch
Is It Him Or Is It Me? (Love Life) Farah Alvin
Brush Up Your Shakespeare (Kiss Me, Kate) Jeffry Denman & Bobby Steggert, Choreography By Jeffry Denman
From This Moment On (Kiss Me, Kate) Melissa Manchester
Schraffts (Make Mine Manhattan) John Easterlin Unplugged
Were Thine That Special Face (Kiss Me, Kate) William Michalls Unplugged
Too Darn Hot (Kiss Me, Kate) Jeffry Denman & Erin Denman, Choreography By Erin & Jeffry Denman
Another Op'nin', Another Show (Kiss Me, Kate) Company
The Broadway Musicals of 1927
The Musicals Of 1927
Created, Written, And Hosted By Scott Siegel
Directed By Alexander Gemignani
Music Direction By Ross Patterson
Monday February 23, 2010
Scott Siegel launched his 10th Anniversary season with a smash hit! I hate to say this is the best Broadway by the Year Ever as that might imply that all that's gone before hasn't also been wonderful. So let's just say, The Broadway Musical of 1927 was a capstone, a shining testament to a concept that has blossomed into something very special, getting better and better every year. Given that many performers and directors have come back often enough to have forged make BBTY something of a show business style family circle which happens to meet four Mondays a year to sing and dance, often without benefit of mikes.

To support the celebratory aura of this marking the show's anniversary, Scott Siegel wisely chose a year that offered a feast of great shows to choose from (the as always witty Siegel's commentary noted that there was one night when no less than 11 shows opened). As a wedding celebration calls for something new as well as something old, so this anniversary evening had a new director, Alexander Gemignani, oversee the presentation of the many memorable melodic offerings, and also lend his own melodious voice to the proceedings. Gemignani proved himself to be a superb director who made the most of the rich array of talent on hand to sing and — true to what has become integral to BBTY's pleasures — dancing.

With so many magnificent songs and voices, there were more than the usual number of opportunities to hear the music unamplified, or unplugged. Two of these unplugged numbers, both from Showboat —; An unplugged rendition of "Ol' Man River" by Randall Earl Darrington, last seen on Broadway as Coalhouse Walker in Ragtime and "Bill" by Kate Baldwin sent chills down my back. Thrilling isn't a word I use often, but it certainly applied here.

As always there was a mix of strong on emotion ballads, comedy (yes, Marc Kudisch who likes to have fun as well as belt out a ballad, was present), as well as original arrangements like the "The Best Things in Life Are Free" done as a quartet number by Kate Baldwin, Christiane Noll, Quentin Earl Darrington and Christopher Fitzgerald. Oh and the energy and commitment of these entertainers. Can you imagine rushing over from your 7pm gig in the new musical Yank!? Well, that's exactly what that show's star, Bobby Steggert and its choreographer and key performer, Jeffry Denham did. Denham and charming fellow choreographer/dancer Noah Racey did a bewitching routine from Funny Face, adding their own choreography to the original by Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly. Astaire and Kelly must surely have smiled down from the great beyond's corner reserved for nimble footed show men.

Below is a list of the evening rundown of numbers, with the unplugged numbers in bold face. While I can't tell you to run and see The Musicals of 1927, I urge you to save these dates: March 22nd for the Broadway Musicals of 1948, May 10th for the Broadway Musicals of 1966 and June 14th for a special 10th anniversary Broadway Musicals of 1990-2010.

Act I
Sometimes I'm Happy (Hit The Deck) Christopher Fitzgerald
My One And Only (Funny Face) Ron Bohmer W/Melinda Sullivan, Choreography By Ms. Sullivan
Gather The Rose (The White Eagle) Quentin Earl Darrington, Unplugged
Life Upon The Wicked Stage (Show Boat) Christiane Noll
My Blue Heaven (Ziegfeld Follies Of 1927) Chad Kimball
The Five Step (Manhattan Mary) Kendrick Jones, Choreography By Mr. Jones
Funny Face (Funny Face) Christopher Fitzgerald & Carole Bufford
Give Me One Hour (The White Eagle) Ron Bohmer, Unplugged
Make Believe (Show Boat) Quentin Earl Darrington & Christiane Noll
Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man (Show Boat) Carole Bufford
She Don't Wanna (Ziegfeld Follies Of 1927) Marc Kudisch
You Are Love (Show Boat) Alexander Gemignani & Kate Baldwin, Unplugged

Act II
Varsity Drag (Good News) Kendrick Jones & Melinda Sullivan, Choreography By Jones & Sullivan
Rio Rita (Rio Rita) Christiane Noll & Ron Bohmer, Unplugged
Thou Swell (A Connecticut Yankee) Chad Kimball & Carole Bufford
Just A Memory (Manhattan Mary) Christopher Fitzgerald Here I Am Broken Hearted (Artists And Models) Marc Kudisch
The Best Things In Life Are Free (Good News) Kate Baldwin, Christiane Noll, Quentin Earl Darrington, Christopher Fitzgerald, Unplugged
S'wonderful (Funny Face) Bobby Steggert
He Loves And She Loves (Funny Face) Jeffry Denman & Marc Kudisch
My Heart Stood Still (A Connecticut Yankee) Alexander Gemignani Bill (Show Boat) Kate Baldwin
The Babbitt And The Bromide (Funny Face) Jeffry Den-Man & Noah Racey; Original Choreography By Fred Astaire & Gene Kelly, Additional Choreography By Denman & Racey
Ol' Man River (Show Boat) Quentin Earl Darrington, Unplugged
Shaking The Blues Away (Ziegfeld Follies Of 1927) Company, Choreography By Holly Cruz

The Broadway Musicals of 1970
This finale of BBTY's 9th season had the usual array of top tier talent. The amazingly productive Siegel (he hosts a number of other special and regular musical events) had a wealth of material from which to choose and three surprise guests: Walter Willison to sing the breakout tune, "I Do Not Know A Day I Did Not Love You" he introduced almost forty years ago. . . Ute Lemper to give one of the most unusual ever interpretations of Stephen Sondheim's "Ladies Who Lunch". . .and Tovah Feldshuh (the only show biz personality I can think of who probably has even more energy than Mr. Siegel) to deliver a rousing "Welcome to the Theatre." With the charming Jeffrey Denman to once again direct as well as actively participate, the evening had the mix of dancing and singing the show's fans have come to expect.

As usual the evening provided an enjoyable mini-history lesson about the spotlighted year. Some of the facts trotted out as part of Siegel's always amusing commentary: The American invasion of Cambodia, the launch of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Public Broadcasting System. The end of the Beatles and Diana Ross as part of The Supremes. And those shocked and dismayed by the sad state of the automotive industry were reminded that the car makers have been making mistakes for a long time-- to wit, the Pinto (a reminder of my own lemon yellow Pinto wagon).

Following tradition, three of the numbers were sung unplugged (as indicated by asterisks preceding the song list below). Various numbers from Stephen Sondheim's Company dominated the evening. The terrific Getting Married was great fun, bringing back the delightful Melissa Errico who's been absent from Broadway for several years (heeding the call of motherhood and as a singer with symphony orchestras). It was also nice to see Stephen DeRosa reprise his first appearance with BBTY last month. If Groucho Marx were still with us, he would surely have handed DeRosa a congratulatory cigar for his song and dance rendition of "Where Was I When They Passed Out Luck."

Two of the 1970's night performers, Christiane Noll and Scott Coulter will join Kerry O'Malley, Scott Siegel and piano wiz Ross Patterson for their first out-of-town, multiple-performance gig. Since it's at the Berkshire Theatre Festival which is part of my summer review beat, look for my report after the June 20th opening at Curtainup's Berkshire Theatre Festival 2009 page.

Obviously, the above is just a bit of what was on offer at BBTY1970. Herewith a complete list of the evening's numbers in running order, with the show in which it appeared in parentheses, followed by the BBTY performer(s). An asterisk before a title indicates that it was performed unplugged.

Act I
I Got Love (Purlie) - Cheryl Freeman
Another Hundred People (Company) - Christiane Noll
Something, Somewhere (Two By Two) - Max Von Essen Where Was I When They Passed Out Luck (Minnie's Boys) - Stephen Derosa
Getting Married Today (Company) - Melissa Errico W/ Christiane Noll And Jeffry Denman
I Do Not Know A Day I Did Not Love You (Two By Two) - Walter Willison
Sons (The Rothschilds) - Martin Vidnovic
Mania, A Rainbow (Minnie 'S Boys) - Scott Cooper
Rich Is... (Lllinnie'r Boys) Jeffry Denman And Meredith Patterson
Ladies Who Lunch (Company) - Ute Lemper
That Slavery Is Love (Cry For Usall )- Christiane Noll He Can Do It (Parrlie) - Cheryl Freeman
How I Feel (The Me Nobody Knows) - Darius De Haas

Act Ii
New Tangled Preacher Man (Parrlie) - Darius De Haas and Kendrick Jones
The Tree (The Me Nobody Knows) - Scott Cooper
Another Hallowe'en (Applause) - Melissa Errico
The Harder They Fall (Purlie) - Sahr Ngaujah
Empty (Minnie'.R Boys) - Stephen Derosa
Sorry Grateful (Company) Scott Cooper, Jeffry Denman And Max Von Essen
Being Alive (Company) - Max Von Essen
Side By Side By Side (Company) - Kendrick Jones, Meredith Patterson and Jeffry Denman
Welcome To The Theatre (Applause) - Tovah Feldshuh
In My Own Lifetime (The Rothschilds) - Martin Vidnovic
Applause (Applause) - All

The Broadway Musicals of 1944
This penultimate presentation of the Broadway Musicals by the Year series took the audience back to World War II, the year of D-Day which marked the beginning of the end of this brutal war, but not before the hiding place of Anne Frank and her family was discovered, band leader Glenn Miller's plane disappeared and lots more lives were shed. Sober as all this sounds, BBTY creator, writer and host Scott Siegel deftly segued from serious to serious fun — for example, he turned a less weighty 1944 historical items, like the initiation of the Chiquita Banana ad campaign, into a sing-along.

It was an especially satisfying evening for all who treasure the tradition of hearing some of the selected numbers sung " unplugged." Five numbers presented without miking.

Director/choreographer/performer Jeffrey Denham introduced the 1944 ensemble to the audience with the title number from On the Town (Kate Baldwin, Stephen DeRosa,Shannon Lewis, William Michals, Sarah Hane McMahon, Tony Yazbeck, Kendrick Jones, Melinda Sullivan). From there he moved right into the "unplugged" spirit with " Lucky to Be Me" also from Our Town, and topped off the evening with two offerings from Song of Norway, which turned classical composer Edward Grieg's music into an 800-performance Broadway hit.

It was no surprise that Sarah Jane McMahon, who has appeared on the concert stage with Placido Domingo, and William Michals, who's currently understudying opera star Pal Szot in South Pacific, could easily handle their songs without benefit of amplification. The surprise was Stephen DeRosa, who brought richness and life to a little known song (Wanderin') from an equally little known musical (Sing Out, Sweet Land). DeRosa is a newcomer to BBTY, but a stage veteran whose work I've admired since first seeing him in The Mystery of Irma Vep. While he's appeared in musicals before, I've thought of him more as an actor in straight plays, most recently in last summer's Berkshire Theater Festival revival of Waiting for Godot. He brought his gifts as an actor with strong comedic skills to the several other solo numbers he did at Town Hall. Impresario Siegel would do well to make him one of his regulars.

The as usual spirited performances of the entire cast managed to make the show's often less than memorable songs from mostly forgotten shows enjoyable and, in the case of the by now de rigueur dance numbers easy on the eyes — especially with the fleet-footed tapper-singer Kendrick Jones, the Astaire-like Jeffrey Denham, and velvet-voiced song and dance man Tony Yazbeck on stage.

Following is a running order song list:
Act I
New York, New York - Company (On the Town)
Lucky To Be Me - William Michals (On the Town) UNPLUGGED
The Good-Will Movement - Stephen DeRosa (Michael Todd's Mexican Hayride
Follow the Girls - Kate Baldwin, Sarah Jane McMahon, Melinda Sullivan (Follow the Girls)
There Must Be Someone For Me - Kendrick Jones(Michael Todd's Mexican Hayride
It Was Nice Knowing You - Shannon Lewis (Jackpot)
I Wanna Get Married - Kate Baldwin(Follow the Girls)
Right As The Rain - Sarah Jane McMahon (Bloomer Girl)
Twelve O'clock and All Is Well - William Michals (Follow the Girls) - UNPLUGGED
Wandrin' - Stephen DeRosa (Sing Out, Sweet Land) - UNPLUGGED
Only Another Boy and Girl - Tony Yazbeck w/ Melinda Sullivan(Seven Lively Arts)

Act II (see above for full names)
Girls - Tony w/ Kate, Sarah Jane, Shannon and Melinda (Michael Todd's Mexican Hayride
Is it the Girl (Or Is It The Gown)? - Stephen (Seven Lively Arts)
I Can Cook Too - Kate (On the Town)
I Love You - Jeffry w/ Shannon (Michael Todd's Mexican Hayride)
Lonely Town - Tony (On the Town)
Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye - Kate (Seven Lively Arts)
You're Perf - Kendrick and Melinda (Follow the Girls)
I Love You - Sarah Jane (Song of Norway) - UNPLUGGED
Strange Music - William & Sarah Jane (Song of Norway) - UNPLUGGED
Some Other Time - Company (On the Town)
The Broadway Musicals of 1931
The year for the latest Broadway Musicals by the Year edition was somewhat depressingly timely: 1931, the height of the Great Depression. But not to worry. With Mr. Geniality, a.k.a. Scott Siegel, to bring his usual good cheer and amazing store of apt facts and anecdotes to the podium, a rousing good time was had by all. That included the terrific cast: Brad Oscar (who did double duty as director), Jeffry Denman (who provided the snazzy choreography) , Chip Zien, Tony Yazbeck, Mara Davi, David Pittu, F. Murray Abraham, Kendrick Jones, Melinda Sullivan, special guest star Karen Akers and surprise guest Barb Jungr.

The evening's biggest and best known hits were Dancing in the Dark was "As Time Goes By", from obscure little musical, Everybody's Welcome, which almost didn't make it into Casablanca, the movie that turned it into an instantly recognizable, stick to the ears hit. " As Time Goes By" was gorgeously sung by the elegant Karen Akers and reprised for the Company finale. "Dancing in the Dark" was done as a breathtakingly beautiful song (Akers) and dance (Mara Davi & Jeffrey Denham). Another well known number, but one usually associated with Noel Coward, "Mad Dogs and Englishmen" was delivered with Cowardian charm by the charming Jeffry Denman.

On the whole, 1931 wasn't a year for a lot of long-running super hit shows. Except for the title song from Of Thee I Sing, the first musical to ever win a Pulitzer, there weren't even that many known-to-all breakout tunes. However, Siegel and his guests once again proved that with talent and imagination, even a not so memorable tune can be a delight — to wit, the droll, big-voiced Brad Oscar's rendition of "Yuba Plays the Rumba on the Tuba." The delightful surprise guest, Barb Jungr, turned a little known number, The Torch Song, into a show stopper. On the other hand, F. Murray Abraham, not generally associated with musicals, demonstrated that an actor with presence and who's trained to project his voice, can sing along with the most seasoned singers. Abraham even did the honors with the evening's off-mike number, "Life Is Just a Bowl of Cherries." Paraphrase that song title and you've got the evening in a nutshell: These evenings at Town Hall do indeed make Life Just a Bowl of Cherries.

Below is the running order list of who sang and danced what in running order. And don't forget to get your tickets for , May 11th, Broadway Musicals of 1944 (May 11th) and Broadway Musicals of 1970 (June 15th): .

Running Order with performer(s) and show origin: Act I Love is Sweeping the Country - Company [Of Thee I Sing]
Gotta Go to Town -Tony Yazbeck [The Laugh Parade]
By Special Permission of the Copyright Owners, I Love You - Chip Zien [The Gang's Al l Here]
Speak Easy - Mara Davi [The Gang's All Here]
Mad Dogs & Englishman - Jeffry Denman [The Third Little Show]
You'll Do - Kerry O'Malley & David Pittu [You Said It]
J Poor Pierrot - F. Murray Abraham [The Cat and the Fiddle]
Yuba Plays the Rumba on the Tuba - Brad Oscar [The Third Little Show]
Who Cares? - Jeffry Denman & Mara Davi [Of Thee I Sing]
The Thrill is Gone - David Pittu [George White's Scandals of 1931 ) As Time Goes By -- Karen Akers [Everybody's Welcome] Of T'hee I Sing - Brad, Jeffry, Chip, David, Tony[Of Thee I Sing]
Crazy Quilt - Kendrick Jones, Melinda Sullivan, Jeffry Denman (Billy Rose's Crazy Quilt]

Act 11 The Illegitimate Daughter -Tony, Jeffry, David, Mara, Melinda [Of Thee I Sing]
Shadows on the Wall - Barb Jungr [Fast and Furious]
The Torch Song - Barb Jungr [The Laugh Parade]
You Said It - Melinda Sullivan & Kendrick Jones [You Said It]
I Want A Man - Mara Davi [America's Sweetheart]
I Found a Million Dollar Baby - Chip zien (& Melinda) [Billy Rose's Crazy Quilt]
Miserable With You - Brad Oscar & F. Murray Abraham [The Bandwagon]
To-Night - Tony Yazbeck [Free for All]
Dancing in the Dark - Karen Akers (w/Mara Davi & Jeffry Denman) [The Bandwagon]
Life Is Just a Bowl of Cherries - F. Murray Abraham [George White's Scandals of 1931 ]
Cigarettes & Cigars - Kerry O'Malley [The Ziegfeld Follies of 1931]
Sweet & Hot - Jeffry, Tony, Kendrick, Mara, Melinda, & Company [You Said It]
As Times Goes By - Company Tag [Everybody's Welcome]
The Broadway Musicals of 1924
Does Scott Siegel ever sleep. When he's not preparing for another of this popular concert series for The Town Hall, he's working on an increasing number of spinoffs like Broadway Unplugged, The Broadway Cabaret Festival, the Summer Broadway Festival, he recently added a Sunday night cabaret show at Birdland. As if that weren't enough, he and his wife Barbara see countless cabarets as well as countless on and off-Broadway plays and musicals. And don't be surprised if you see impresario Siegel personally handing out fliers to publcize these events.

Whew! I'm exhausted just trying to list all his activties. But if the 1924 BBTY evening is any indication, all these shows are not a case of an over-scheduled calendar compromising quality, but a confirmation of another cliche: ask a busy man if you want to get it done and done well.

BBTY 1924 featured some spectacular singing, a fair share of it "unplugged," by performers with acting chops to match magnificent pipes. The chosen year provided a chance to relive highlights of operettas like Rose Marie and The Student Prince. These hit shows from a Broadway genre turned dinosaur are especially suited to the talents of Marc Kudisch, Ryan Silverman, James Barbour and Sarah Jane McMahon a lovely diva with a glorious soprano.

In addition to these erstwhile equivalents of Phantom of the Opera the 1920s featured many annual editions of musical revues, and 1924 was no exception. For BBTY that opened the door to plenty of the stylishly choreographed and executed dance numbers and comic novelties that have added to BBTY's' pleasures. Jeffrey Denman, the 1924 evening's director and chief choreographer, got plenty of stage time, including a delightful Charleston number with his still new wife, Erin. Another fleet-footed BBTY favorite, Kendrick Jones, once again made me wonder when someone was going to create a show for him. Ditto for the droll Jason Grae, who brought down the house first with an odd little ditty "Tulip in Sing-Sing" and later with "Don't Send Me Back to Petrograd."

When the entire company came out to take their well deserved bows, the stage was even fuller than usual since the cast included a special bonus: the fascinating rhythms of the new-to-me Howard Fishman Quartet. As usual, producer and host Siegel , gave context to everything with his unfailingly amusing and informative tidbits about the year and the selected musical numbers. Since 1924 also marked the publication e anniversary of "Happy Birthday", Siegel even got the audience to chime in by extending their combined Happy Birthday wishes whoever in the audience was born that year.

Below is a list of who sang and danced what in running order. Be sure to make a note about what's up next: March 30th, The Broadway Musicals of 1931, May 11th, Broadway Musicals of 1944 and June 15th, Broadway Musicals of 1970.

Act I
The Drinking Song (The Student Prince) - Mare Kudisch, Erin Denman, Sarah Jane McMahon, Ryan Silverman, Kevin Worley
The Door of My Dream (Rose Marie) - Sarah Jane McMahon
I Don't Know (Char;ot's Revue of 1924) - Kerry O'Malley
I'd Rather Charleston (Lady, Be Good) - Erin and Jeffry Denman
Don't Take Your Troubles to Bed (Plain Jane) - Howard Fishman Quartet (Howard Fishman, guitar and vocals; Mazz Swift, violin; , Andrae Murchison,trombone; Nathan Peck, bass
Tulip Time in Sing Sing (Sitting Pretty) - Jason Graae
Make Ev'ry Day a Holiday (Greenwich Village Follies of 1924) - Melinda Sullivan and Kevin Worley
Weeping Willow Tree (Dear Sir) - Ryan Silverman
All Alone (Music Box Revue of 1924) - Jeffrey Denman
Oh, Lady Be Good (Lady, Be Good) - Kendrick Jones
The Mounties (Rose Marie) - Jason Graae, James Barbour, Marec Kudisch, Ryan Silverman, Kevin Worley

Act II
Limehouse Blues (Chariot's Revue of 1924) - Howard Fishman Quartet
Rose Marie (Rose Marie) - Ryan Silverman
Indian Love Call (Rose Marie) - Sarah Jane McMahon and Marc Kudisch The Man I Love (Lady, Be Good) - Kerry O'Malley
What'll I Do (Music Box Revue of 1924) - ) James Barbour
The Half Of It Dearie Blues (Lady, Be Good) - Jeffry Denman
Somebody Loves Me (George White's Scandals of 1924) - Marc Kudish
Don't Send Me Back to Petrograd (Music Box Revue of 1924) - Jason Graae Fascinatin' Rhythm (Lady, Be Good) - Howard Fishman Quartet, Kendrick Jones, Melinda Sullivan, Erin Denman, Jeffrey Denman, Kevin Worley
Deep in My Heart (The Student Prince) - Sarah Jane McMahon and Ryan Silverman
Serenade (The Student Prince - James Barbour
Golden Days (The Student Prince) - Company
The Broadway Musicals of 1965
As our host/historian at Mondays BBTY event made clear, 1965 was an eventful year. The first large troop shipment to Vietnam led to the first draft card burnings, people on the East Coast survived the Great Blackout, and Bill Cosby became the first African-American to co-star in a dramatic series. Always one to find some statistics to prompt "those were the days" sighs, Siegel also recalled that filling up your jalopy cost you 24cents a gallon. His always aptly amusing comments peppered his introductions throughout the evening.

In looking at the program, I saw a lot of shows that didn't ring a bell. Nor did I see more than a couple of songs that immediately sent a melody into my ear. And yet, this turned out to be a super enjoyable evening, with sublime talent and sophisticated staging. Lots of dancing. Plenty of the unplugged numbers to deliver the music with nothing between you and the sound. Even the ensemble performers got into the pure sound act!

I'm tempted to say that Marc Kudisch with his operatic voice and terrific sense of humor was the star. But there was also Brian d'Arcy James with a fetching mustache (probably grown especially for his gig in Port Authority currently at the Atlantic Theater) and that fine singer and actor, Greg Edelman who, like Kudish and James has charm to spare. And yes, this dynamic trio did a number together!.

While the men were great, they were matched by the talented ladies — especially, the very fine Julia Murney and a, new to me, cabaret diva par excellence, Julie Reyburn. Lorin Lotarro and Dave Eggers not only performed but earned a stand-up and cheer bravo for their choreography and musical staging. Kendrick Jones, the young tapper who's become a favorite with BBTY regulars (and that's practically everyone at Town Hall!) was on hand to turn a flop number, " Slippy Sloppy Shoes," into a Town Hall show stopper, which he choreographed it himself. He returned in Act two with Melinda Sullivan for a droll piece called " Opposites" from another little known show, Skyscraper.

Some of the most rousing songs came from 1965's best known, biggest hit, Man of La Mancha. Marc Kudisch led the entire company in its big anthem number, " Impossible Dream". It was gloriously unplugged. Below is the running order of all the songs, their show sources and performers.

See you at the BBTY season finale, The Broadway Musicals of 1979.

Song List Act I
Sing Happy (Flora, the Red Menace/ Kander & Ebb)- Julia Murney & The Broadway by the Year Boys (Stuart Capps, Kevin Worley, J. Austin Eyler, David Eggers and Eric Sanagata)

On a Wonderful Day Like Today (The Roar of the GreasePaint, The Smell of the Crowd/Leslie Bricusse & Anthony Newley)- Lorin Latarro, Melinda Sullivan, Shannon Lewis[Unplugged]

Man of La Mancha (Man of La Mancha/Mitch Leigh & Joe Darion) - Marc Kudisch

Do I Hear a Waltz? (Do I Hear a Waltz?/Richard Rodgers & Stephen Sondheim) - Gregg Edelman

We're Gonna Be All Right (Do I Hear a Waltz?/Richard Rodgers & Stephen Sondheim)- Julie Reyburn & Brandon Cutrell (On a Clear Day On A Clear Day You Can See Forever/Burtan Lane & Alan Jay Lerner) - Julia Murney

The Joker (The Roar of the GreasePaint, The Smell of the Crowd/Leslie Bricusse & Anthony Newley)- Gregg Edelman w/Melinda Sullivan & Shannon Lewis

What Did I Have That I Don't Have? (On a Clear Day On A Clear Day You Can See Forever/Burtan Lane & Alan Jay Lerner)- Julie Reyburn

Slippy Sloppy Shoes (La Grosse Valise/Gerard Calvi/Harold Rome) - Kendrick Jones

She Touched Me (Drat the Cat/Milton Schafer) - Brian d'Arcy James

Why Did I Choose You? (The Yearling/Michael Leonard/Herbert Mann) - Gregg Edelman

Delilah Done Me Wrong (La Grosse Valise/Gerard Calvi/Harold Rome) - Marc Kudisch w/Shannon Lewis [Unplugged]

A Quiet Thing (Flora, the Red Menace/ Kander & Ebb)- Julia Murney

Come Back to Me (On a Clear Day On A Clear Day You Can See Forever/Burtan Lane & Alan Jay Lerner) - The Broadway by the Year Boys [Unplugged]

Song List Act II
It's All The Same (Man of La Mancha/Mitch Leigh & Joe Darion) - Shannon Lewis & Broadway by the Year Boys
Take the Moment (Do I Hear a Waltz?/Richard Rodgers & Stephen Sondheim)- Marc Kudisch

Who Can I Turn To? (The Roar of the GreasePaint, The Smell of the Crowd/Leslie Bricusse & Anthony Newley) - Brian d'Arcy James [Unplugged]

Everybody Has the Right to be Wrong (Skyscraper/James Van Heusen & Sammy Kahn) - Gregg Edelman w/Julia Murney

Feeling Good (The Roar of the GreasePaint, The Smell of the Crowd/Leslie Bricusse & Anthony Newley) - Julie Reyburn w/Lorin Latarro & Stuart Capps (dancers)

She's So Far Above Me - Brandon Cutrell

Look at That Face (The Roar of the Grease Paint, The Smell of the Crowd/Leslie Bricusse & Anthony Newley) - Marc Kudisch, Gregg Edelman, Brian d'Arcy James

Opposites (Skyscraper/James Van Heusen & Sammy Kahn)- Kendrick Jones & Melinda Sullivan

Aldonza (Man of La Mancha/Mitch Leigh & Joe Darion) - Julia Murney

If I Ruled the World (Pickwick/Leslie Bricusse) - Gregg Edelman

Nothing Can Stop Me Now (The Roar of the GreasePaint, The Smell of the Crowd/Leslie Bricusse & Anthony Newley) - Brian d'Arcy James

Impossible Dream (Man of La Mancha/Mitch Leigh & Joe Darion) - Marc Kudisch & Company [Unplugged]

The Broadway Musicals of 1954
I wasn't able to catch this, the second in this season's by the year series. But the show went on— as always created, written, hosted by Scott Siegel. Frequent guest Scott Coulter made his directing debut and musical direction was by BBTY maestro Ross Patterson.

Though I wasn't there to check out the usual and new suspects for the 1954 event myself, my friend and colleague, Simon Saltzman told me that the evening was once again enhanced with choreography. As he said: "Josh Rhodes proved to be a scholar of steps in seven lively danced numbers, including the frenetically funny "Hernando's Hideaway. " Act II placed more emphasis on dance with slick and ever sliding dancer Kendrick Jones choreographing his big number "Slide, Boy, Slide." Pajama Game, which had the lion's share of songs, featured another song and dance number, "Steam Heat, " choreographed by BBTY favorite, Noah Racey.

The next in the series is on Monday May 12th and will focus on the year 1965. Here's the complete line-up of what I -- but hopefully, NOT you/ missed last Monday:

(indicates that the number was choreographed by Josh Rhodes) Act I:
1. Racing With the Clock / The Pajama Game: Group
2. You've Got To Be a Little Crazy / The Girl in Pink Tights: Emily Skinner, Paul Schoeffler Natalie Belcon
3. It's Never Too Late to Fall in Love / The Boyfriend: Debbie Gravitte and Harvey Evans
4. I'd Rather Wake Up By Myself / By the Beautiful Sea: Emily Skinner
5. One Man Ain't Quite Enough / House of Flowers: Natalie Belcon
6. When I Went Home / Cut from Peter Pan: Scott Coulter
7. I'll Never Be Jealous Again / The Pajama Game: Mark Priceand Emily Skinner
8. Windflowers / The Golden Apple: Sierra Bogges
9. Captain Hook's Waltz / Peter Pan: Paul Schoeffler
10. Lazy Afternoon / The Golden Apple: Debbie Gravitte
11. Hey There / The Pajama Game: Cheyenne Jackson
12. Won't You Charleston With Me? / The Boyfriend: Mark Price and Jen Cody

Act II:
1. Slide, Boy, Slide / House of Flowers: Natalie Belcon and Kendrick Jones - choreographed by Kendrick Jones Cheyenne Jackson, Emily Skinner, Sierra Bogges
2. Lottie Gibson Specialty / By the Beautiful Sea: Jen Cody [Unplugged]
3. Fanny / Fanny: Sean Coulter [Unplugged]
4. I Have to Tell You / Fanny: Emily Skinner
5. I Won't Grow Up / Peter Pan: Harvey Evans, Bert Michaels, Don Percassi
6. Hernando's Hideaway / The Pajama Game: Mark Price and Jen Cody
7. I'm Flying / Peter Pan: Scott Coulter.
8. A Sleepin' Bee / House of Flowers: Natalie Belcon [Unplugged]
9. Steam Heat / The Pajama Game: Noah Racey and Melinda Sullivan [Unplugged] - choreographed by Noah Racey
10. I'm Not At All In Love / The Pajama Game: Debbie Gravitte
11. There Once was a Man / The Pajama Game: Cheyenne Jackson and Sierra Bogges
12. Distant Melody / Peter Pan: Emily Skinner w/ Sean Coulter, Mark Price, Paul Schoeffler
13. Never Never Land / Peter Pan: Company

The Broadway Musicals of 1947
Impresario Scott Siegel launched his invaluable Broadway By the Year series with a truly grand night of singing and dancing. If I had to sum up the evening in one word, it would be MORE. More songs sung unplugged— by the powerhouse voices of Alexander Gemignani, Eddie Korbich, Marc Kudisch and , Howard McGillin plus Christiane Noll's velvety soprano. More dancing -- with a roster that included two choreographers, director-choreographer-performer Jeffry Denman and choreographer-performer Noah Racey (their co-choreographed rendition of "Necessity" would surely make Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly smile and applaud from their dancers' corner of the Great Beyond); plus a guest appearance of the remarkable young tapper Kendrick Jones. More sizzle and chemistry thanks to the return of many Broadway by the Year stalwarts who have through these shows developed the close-knit feel of a repertory company. And, of course, more of the familiar pleasures of maestro Siegel's amusing and informative introductory comments (history teachers should be required to sit in on one of these evenings to learn how to make facts and dates fascinating and funny) and the excellent accompaniment of Ross Patterson's Little Big Band.

What about the shows that lit up the marquees in '47? The big hits were two fantasy shows, Finian's Rainbow and Brigadoon. Allegro, not nearly as big a hit as Rodgers and Hammerstein's Oklahoma, nevertheless yielded some hit-home tunes, as beautifully illustrated by the three selections featured (see the list of songs in running order below). Kurt Weill's and Langston Huges' Street Scene based on Elmer Rice's Pulitzer Prize winning play eventually joined opera repertories, was a natural for being presented as in an opera, without amplification. As always Siegel managed to prove that even a complete flop has redeeming qualities. And so the 4-performance Louisiana Lady, made a rare show-stopping comeback with Kendrick Johnson's astounding tap rendition of a number called "Cuckoo Cheena."

As if the stellar line-up of Broadway and Off-Broadway stars weren't enough, there was a guest appearance by Christine Pedi singing "Civilization" from Angel in the Wings in the voice of the twenty-one-year-old unknown who sang it back in 1947. The surprise Pedi-Elaine Stritch collaboration not surprisingly had the audience in stitches.

Naturally, it all should be seen and heard to appreciate this series, so I'll stop here and follow the running list of songs, with a lineup of what's ahead for the Broadway by the Year season so that you can mark them on your must see calendar.

Running Order of the numbers and their performers:
Almost Like Being in Love - Brigadoon, Howard McGillin and ChristianeNoll
When I'm Not Near the Girl I Love - Finian's Rainbow, Eddie Korbich
Security - Meredith Patterson, Erin Crouch & Kristen Beth Williams (choreographed by Jeffry Denman)
A Fellow Needs A Girl - Allegro, Marc Kudisch
How Are Things in Glocca Morra? - Finian's Rainbow, Kerry O'Malley The Heather on the Hill - Brigadoon, Jeffry Denman & Meredith Patterson(choreographed by Jeffry)
If It Were Easy to Do - Angel in the Wings, Donna Lynne Champlin
1000 Island Song - Angel in the Wings, Eddie Korbich (w/Men)
Wouldn't You Like To Be On B'way? - Street Scene, Marc Kudisch (w/Kristen Beth Williams)
Old Devil Moon - Finian's Rainbow, Noah Racey (choreographed by Noah)
Lonely House - Street Scene, Howard McGillin (unplugged)
What Good Would the Moon Be? - Street Scene, Christiane Noll(unplugged)
I'll Go Home with Bonnie Jean - Brigadoon, Alexander Gemignani w/ Men

ACT TWO<br> I'll Go Home with Bonnie Jean (Redux) - Brigadoon, Alexander Gemignani w/ Men
Papa Won't You Dance with Me? - High Button Shoes, Erin Crouch & Kristen Beth Williams w/ Alexander Gemignani
Cuckoo Cheena - Louisiana Lady, Kendrick Jones (choreographed by Kendrick)
So Far - Allegro, Donna Lynne Champlin From This Day On - Brigadoon, Howard McGillin and Christiane Noll (unplugged)
Come to Me, Bend to Me - Brigadoon, Alexander Gemignani (unplugged)
Moon-Faced, Starry-Eyed - Street Scene Jeffry Denman and Meredith Paterson (choreographed by Jeffry)
Civilization - Angel in the Wings, surprise guest star Christine Pedi
The Gentleman is A Dope - Allegro, Kerry O'Malley
Necessity - Finian's Rainbow, Jeffry Denman and Noah Racey (co-choreographed by Jeffry & Noah) The Balalaika Serenade - Music in the Heart, Marc Kudisch (unplugged)
There But For You Go I - Brigadoon, Eddie Korbish (unplugged)
While There's A Song To Sing - Howard McGillin and Christiane Noll, Donna Lynn Champlin, Alexander Gemignani (unplugged and a cappella)
Look To The Rainbow - Finian's Rainbow,Donna Lynne Champlin w/ Company
Come and Get It Day - Finian's Rainbow, Dancers, Kerry O'Malley & Alexander Gemignani and Company (choreographed by Jeffry)

The season will continue April 7 with The Broadway Musicals of 1954 (directed by Scott Coulter with musical direction by Ross Patterson); May 12 with The Broadway Musicals of 1965 (directed by Marc Kudisch with musical direction by Ross Patterson) and June 16 with The Broadway Musicals of 1979 (directed by Emily Skinner with musical direction by Ross Patterson).

The Broadway Musicals of 1964, Part II
The last of the Broadway by the Year concerts was the second time for the year 1964, and the first time I couldn't attend. There were other firsts to mark the star-studded concert: First ever apearances for Beth Leavel, Gregg Edelman, and David Pittu. . .first return to the series for Stephanie J. Block. Veteran BBTY performers in the show included: Liz Callaway, Joyce Chittick, Scott Coulter, Sean Martin Hingston , Devin Richardsand Sarah Uriarte Berry. The reason for this first ever sequel (the first 1964 concert was done in June 2002) was that it was a year with, as Scott Siegel put it " one killer musical after another:": Funny Girl, Fiddler on the Roof, Hello, Dolly! Anyone Can Whistle, Golden Boy, What Makes Sammy Run.

In lieu of a first-hand report, I'll let the final list of numbers performed suffice and speak for itself and, in case you're wondering what the woman unfailingly acknowledged as his one and only looks like, I'm including a picture of the loving two-some taken at the Drama Desk Awards party.

While you'll have to wait until Fall to see another in the Broadway by the Year series, Scott Siegel won't be lolling around a beach but keeping busy with a 3-part summer festival at Town Hall: A Night at the Operetta on July 16, Broadway's Rising Stars on July 23, and All Singin! All Dancin! on July 30.

To Life - All from Fiddler on the Roof
Everbody Says Don't from Anyone Can Whistle - Gregg Edelman
This is the Life from Golden Boy- Devin Richards
You Better Love Me, from High Spirits: - Stephanie J Block
Everything I Want, from I Had A Ball- Sean Martin Hingston
Night Liz - Lizz Callaway
You Are Woman from Funny Girl - Edelman/Block
Do You Love Me? from Fiddler On the Roof - David Pittu/Beth Leavel
My Hometown, from What Makes Sammy Run? - Scott Coulter
Far From the Home I Love , from Fiddler On the Roof - Sarah Uriarte Berry
My Fortune Is In My Face, fromm Fade Out, Fade In - Edelman
Now I Have Everything, from Fiddler On the Roof - Pittu/Callaway
God Bless the Human Elbow from Ben Franklin In Paris - Berry (with 3 guys)

Soon - Band, from Bajour
Yes I Can from Golden Boy - Pittu
To Be Alone with You, from Ben Franklin In Paris- Berry and Coulter, with Onlookers
Come Play Wiz Me, from Anyone Can Whistle- Sean Martin Hingston and Joyce Chittick, dance duet
See What It Gets You, from Anyone Can Whistle, - Callaway
Funny Girl - Leavel
I Wanna Be With You from Golden Boy- Richards (Off Mike)
There's Always a Woman from Anyone Can Whistle - Block/Leavel
With So Little to Be Sure Of from Anyone Can Whistle - Edelman/Callaway
It Only Takes a Moment, from Hello, Dolly- Coulter
Don't Rain On My Parade, from Funny Girl- Block
Keep the Home Fires Burning, from Oh, What A Lovely War - Callaway and All
To Life Reprise - All
The Broadway Musicals of 1959
When the amiable Marc Kudisch dons the director's hat for a BBTY evening, you can expect a lively, humor-filled evening and with the director often right up front with a solo of his own, or to team up with his cast. Those expectations were more than met on Monday, April 30th by a cast that, besides Kudisch (handsomer than ever with his head no longer shaved), featured Mary Bond Davis, Manoel Feliciano, Mark Jacoby, Nancy Lemenagers, Sarah Jane McMahon, Josh Prince, Emily Skinner. And, oh yes, Bruce Vilanch or the more outrageously comic turns came on stage in a pink satin robe and wasn't too shy to sing "Shy" from Once Upon a Mattress.

The evening had the advantage of focusing on a plummy year that introduced such hits as Fiorello, Gypsy, Once Upon a Mattress, The Sound of Music and Redhead -- not to mention the Western themed Destry Rides Again inspired by the popularity of TV Westerns like Gunsmoke. While the BBTY regulars always include plenty of people old enough to have enjoyed the premieres of the shows highlighted, even those too young to remember a year when seeing these shows premiere would have set them back no more $9 at most had no trouble recognizing many of Monday's offerings.

One of the smartest things Kudisch did was to bring along his colleagues from the recent City Opera production of The Pirates of Penzance , that production's model Major-General and Mabel, Mark Jacoby and Sarah Jane McMahon. Jacoby, a Broadway veteran with a fine tenor voice who seems to shine in just about any role was terrific whether singing on or off-mike. McMahon is a pretty, trim opera soprano whose trilling is thrilling. She can also act up a storm and is not averse to doing a somesault and showing off her amazing yoga proficiency. She has all the makings of a brunette Kristin Chenoweth.

Jacoby and fellow actor-musician from the recent actor-musician cast revival of Sweeney Todd, Manoel Feliciano, added the John Doyle evening. When the non-instrument playing Kudisch joined them for "You Gotta Get a Gimmick" from Gypsy using two pocket lights as his actor-musician "gimmick" the trio brought down the house.

Besides the great songs and the comic shtick, there was also some welcome choreography created and performed by Nancy Lemenagers and Josh Prince, In case I seem to have forgotten the man who created the series, not to worry. Siegel, the man in black, was there with his usual treasure trove of contextual anecdotes and trivia. He got into the fun spirit with a brief juggling act. Can a solo aria a la Siegel be far behind?

Since 1964 was truly a banner year, the BBTY season will conclude on Monday June 18th with The Broadway Musicals of 1964, Part II. And if you think Scott Siegel and his lovely wife Barbara, then take off to lounge around some cool lake or pool, think again. Scott's ever fertile brain has come up with a new series, The Summer Broadway Festival. It features three consecutive July Mondays: July 16th, A Night at the Operetta; July 23, Broadway's Rising Stars; July 30, All Singin!All Dancin!, the Song & Dance of the Great White Way. The series to be presented, as usual, at the Town Hall.

The Song list in Running Order and with an to indicate unplugged or unamplified performance: ACT 1
The Sound of Music (Emily, SJ, Jacoby, Mano)
I'll Marry the Very Next Man (Emily)
I'm Back in Circulation (Jacoby)
Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most (Mano)
Do Re Mi (SJ)
Old Fashioned Girl (Marc w/Mary Bond)
Take Me Along (Josh/Nancy & SJ./Mano)
Shy (Bruce)
When Did I Fall in Love? (Jacoby)
Yesterday I Loved You (Marc & SJ)
All I Need is the Girl (Josh)
You Gotta Get a Gimmick (Marc, Mano, Jacoby)
Some People (Emily)

Entracte: Love Held Lightly (from Saratoga)
Let Me Entertain You (Nancy, SJ, Bruce)
I Say Hello (Emily)
Edelweiss (Jacoby, Marc, Mano)
I Wish It So (SJ)
Ballad of the Sad Young Man (Marc)
Rose Lovejoy of Paradise Alley (Mano)
But Yours (Emily & Bruce)
I'll Try (Josh & Nancy)
Everything's Coming Up Roses (Mary Bond)
Climb Every Mountain (SJ)
So Long, Farewell (Company)
The Broadway Musicals of 1938
It's hard to top the season's opening BBTY evening devoted to the Broadway Musicals of 1928. But thanks to a lineup of singers with gorgeous voices, the year 1938 did indeed prove to be worth celebrating. As usual there were durable hits, some lesser known but worth another turn on stage tunes. And, of course, these monthly feasts for the ears and musical nostalgia lovers, wouldn't be the clubb-y, fanfests without "Professor" Scott Siegel to provide fascinating tidbits to give context to the evening -- tidbits like 1938 product launches for Nescafe, nylon, fluorescent lighting; the fact that Superman flew into our lives and hearts, and that our troubles in the Mideast might well date back to the discovery of oil in Saudi Arabia. On a more ominous note, it was also the year of Kristallnacht in Germany and Hitler's Anschluss.

Though the Great White Way still had plenty of neon lit marquees (98 according to Siegel), that was below the usual minimum of at least a hundred. A number of the more memorable songs were written for less than memorable shows.

Some of the catchiest and most familiar tunes ("Fallin in Love with Love", "This Can't Be Love" and "Sing For Your Supper", all beautifully sung, came from Lorenz Hart and Richard Rodger's The Boys From Syracuse. Other enduring numbers began life in less than memorable shows. A showstopper when introduced by a Broadway newcomer, Mary Martin in a lesser Cole Porter called Leave It to Me, was also a showstopper as delivered with great flair by Shanon Lewis. And guess who played Daddy for Shanon? None, other than our MC-scholar and ready-for-anything host! Siegel also gamely donned a cowboy hat as part of the fun of a hilarious novelty number, "The Dying Cowboy", from Girl From Wyoming by three of the evening's leading men— Martin Vidnovik, Hugh Panaro and Adam Lazar.

The requisite unplugged songs (identified with asterisks in the song and performer list below) triggered the usual mix of pleasure and regret—pleasure to hear beautiful voices in their natural state; regret that this has become such a rare treat (even opera houses are starting to introduce amplification).

A visual highlight of the evening (besides all the lovely divas and handsome men) was provided by Andy Blankenbuhler, the choreographer of the new Off-Broadway hit In the Heights. His "Rick-a-tinka Man" was choreographed and performed as a gift to his wife to celebrate the 11-month birthday of their own little boy.

Director Emily Skinner didn't just take a bow, but came out singing "I'll Be Seeing You" (from Right This Way). Where but at a Broadway by the Year evening can you expect to see a choreographer dance his own number, and a director to take the stage with a song?

If you missed the show, look for it to become a CD as these evenings usually do. And make sure not to miss The Broadway Musicals of 1959 on April 30th — a most musically fruitful year that seeded Gypsy, Fiorello!, Once Upon A Mattress, The Sound of Music /i>, and more!

Song, Show and Performer List (indicates off-mike or unplugged performance)
Sing For Your Supper-Boys From Syracuse/ Christiane Noll, Sarah Uriarte Berry, Connie Pachl
How Long Can Love Keep Laughing/ Sing Out The News- Hugh Panaro
Spring Is Here-I Married An Angel/Sarah Uriarte Berry
What Is That Tune?/You Never Know/ Aaron Lazar and Shannon Lewis
Most Gentlemen Don't Like Love/ Leave It To Me Connie Pachl
This Can't Be Love - Boys From Syracuse/ Sarah Uriarte Berry and Hugh Panaro
My Heart Belongs to Daddy / Leave It To Me Shannon Lewis
My Heart is Unemployed - Sing Out The News/ Hugh Panaro
There Had To Be A Waltz/ Christiane Noll
At Long Last Love- You Never Know/Ensemble
One of These Fine Days- Sing Out The News/ Martin Vidnovik
No You Can't Have My Heart - You Never Know/Barbara Walsh
I Can Dream, Can't I?- Right This Way/Aaron Lazar

Fuddle De Duddle - Hellzapoppin/ entr'acte I'll Tell the Man in the Street -I Married An Angel /Martin Vidnovik
Falling in Love with Love - Boys From Syracuse Christiane Noll
Tomorrow - Leave It To Me/Ensemble
I Married An Angel -I Married An Angel/ Hugh Panaro
Lullabye of the Plain - Girl From Wyoming/ Ray McLeod
The Dying Cowboy - Girl From Wyoming/ Martin Vidnovik, Hugh Panaro and Aaron Lazar
Rink-a-Tinka Man - Who's Who/ Andy Blankenbuhler
Nickel Under Your Foot -Craci'le Will Rock Barbara Walsh
Joe Worker - Cradle Will Rock/ Ray McLeod
It Never Was Anywhere You - Knickerbocker/ Aaron Lazar and Sarah Uriarte Berry
September Song -Knickerbocker/ Martin Vidnovik
I'll Be Seeing You - Right This Way/ Emily Skinner

The Broadway Musicals of 1928
One of the many charms of Scott Siegel's Broadway By the Year evenings at Town Hall is that it's become something of a club at which people equally smitten with musical theater and Siegel's always wry and witty narration come together sort of like members of a book club. The regulars, and that accounts for a large segment of the audience, tend to sit in the same seats season after season which abets pre-show and intermission schmoozing.

There's lots of enthusiastically received familiarity on stage too: The unassuming Siegel in his hallmark black suit at the side of the stage interspersing his introductions with always apt anecdotes about the year being celebrated. . . Ross Patterson and his Little Big Band center stage. . . and BBTY favorites like gorgeous (gorgeous looks, gorgeous voice) Nancy Anderson and Eddie Korbich, the best interpreter of musical novelties on any stage. New performers and directors joining the BBTY family and of course a new year to be put in the spotlight provide just enough of that something new to keep the series fresh.

The latest Broadway Musicals focusing on the year before the Great Depression promised to be a somewhat radical departure from the usual scenario. Bob Martin, the co-creator and Narrator of the Broadway hit about a 1928 musical, The Drowsy Chaperone , seemed to be substituting for Siegel. But no, it turned out that the audience was going to be double blessed with two narrators — or rather one in charge (Siegel) and the other (Martin) drolly acting as the straight man trying to rival Siegel's "fun facts" patter.

And so Siegel dished up the usual assortment of facts about the shows from which songs were to be performed, along with details about 1928 inventions like Double, Double Bubble Gum, Rice Krispies, the Lazy Boy similar to the chair used by Martin's Man in the Chair Character, and famous 1928 babies like Edward Albee, Marian Seldes and Harold Prince. The Tony-Award winning assistant narrator was delightfully incapable of matching Siegel's ability to tie fun facts to the subject at hand, and instead created a running joke about Walter Mondale that managed to go on and on without falling flat.

But enough about the narrators. What about the music? In a word, terrific.

I can't recall a BBTY with so many instantly recognizable and wonderful to hear again songs representing , among others, the talents of musical greats like George M. Cohan, Cole Porter, the Gershwin Brothers, W. C. Handy, Lorenz Hart, Richard Rodgers and operetta king Sigmund Romberg and shows like and the Earl Carroll Vanities. Director Joel Froomkin ensured that everything blended and moved without slow spots and every number seemed made to order for the performer in the spotlight. Leah Hocking got things off to a riotous start with a vamp-y rendition of "Let's Do It" that even engaged maestro Ross Patterson in the fun. BBTY stellar diva Nancy Anderson found a wonderful partner for "You Took Advantage of Me" in BBTY newcomer, matinee handsome and strong of voice Max von Essen. Anderson also did one of the much anticipated un-miked numbers ("Wanting You)" with Paul Schoeffler.

The whole ensemble offered a terrific variety of styles—Lari White's torchy " Lover Come Back to Me", Lumiri Tubo's blues-y "St. Louis Woman," and the men's rousing "Stourthearted Men." — torchy Lari White's. Eddie Cantor must have been smiling down from that corner of the great beyond reserved for show biz greats on another Eddie's (Korbich) very Cantor-like "Makin' Whoopie" The evening was enhanced by the choreographic elements created by several of the performers, with Joyce Chittick and Jeffry Denman's "Heavenly Hop " a standout.

As the song list below indicates, I could go on and on, but these shows have to be seen and heard rather than read about—so get your ticket now for The Broadway Musicals of !938 just a month from now.

The songs and names of those who performed them at the February 26th evening event are as follows:
Bob Martin Let's Do It - Leah Hocking
You Took Advantage of Me - Max von Essen & Nancy Anderson Makin' Whoopie - Eddie Korbich
Ever Since the Movies Learned to Talk - Paul Schoeffler
Billie - Nancy Anderson
I Like You as You Are - Eddie Korbich w/Joyce Chittick
Got Myself Another Jockey Now - Lumiri Tubo
My Wife is On a Diet - Eddie Korbich, Max von Essen, Paul Schoeffler Which - Leah Hocking
Lover Come Back to Me - Lan White
You're the Cream in My Coffee - Jeffry Denman
Why Must We Always Be Dreaming? - Max von Essen Wanting You - (off mike) - Paul Schoeffler & Nancy Anderson

Entr'acte: New York Serenade - Ross Patterson Little Big Band Stouthearted Men - Group
Love Me or Leave Me - Lari White
A Room With a View - Jeffry Denman
Oh What a Night for Love - Joyce Chittick
I Wanna Be Loved by You - Nancy Anderson
Hooray for Captain Spaulding - Eddie Korbich w/Leah Hocking, David Colbert, chorus St. Louis Woman - Lumiri Tubo
I Can't Give You Anything But Love (with counterpoint) - Max von Essen Heaven Hop - Jeffry Denman & Joyce Chittick
Softly, As in a Morning Sunrise - (off mike) Paul Schoeffler w/Louis Villabon & Nancy Anderson (tango) Crazy Rhythm - group
Hello, I Must Be Going - Full Cast

i The Broadway Musicals of 1978
The theater's the show must go on mantra got a workout at the final concert of the Broadway by the Year series. Last minute absentees: Felicia Finlay, Cheyenne Jackson, Nancy Lemenager. Present and making sure the absences would not spoil the fun and as usual excellence of the Evening: Bryan Batt, Joyce Chittick, Mary Bond Davis, Chuck Cooper Julie Gannye, Sean Martin Hingston, Nancy Opel, Christine Pedi, Noah Racey, Lennie Watts, Lari White -- and of course the host with the most tidbits about musical theater history, Scott Siegel, and the excellent Ross Patterson and his Little Big Band.

Actually Mary Bond Davis, who stepped in for Finlay to sing not one but two numbers from Ain't Misbehavin' was so good that more of her easy presence and big voice proved to be a real crowd pleaser. Another show stopper from that well represented show was Chuck Cooper's terrific rendition of "Your Feets Too Big"

The series has given yet another performer, Bryan Batt, a chance to direct as well as act and sing. Batt gussied up many of the numbers with simple visual props. I would have liked to have relinquish his backstage role for more than his single appearance, the delightful "Lawyers", from A Broadway Musical, one of the 1978 season's several flops Scott Siegel dug out of the musical chestnut archives.

As always the evening included some lively choreography. Everybody was thrilled to see the charming Noah Racey break into several tap routines to mark his recovery from an injury. Another crowd pleaser was a big, deliiciously vulgar Las Vegas number from Ballroom, performed by Joyce Chittick and Sean Martin Hingston and choreographed especially for BBTY by Andy Blankenbuehler.

Not surprising the performers were top drawer and delivered the songs with panache even though the lineup included far fewer than usual that were familiar to large segments of the audience, including this viewer. I guess that's why I can't say that I totally agree with Siegel that this was a great year for musical theater fans, and I could have lived without having Working quite so overworked (six selections, and not all ideally suited to the performers). But then this was an evening with many of the creatives involved with the shows in the audience (including the Working's most ardent advocate and one of its composers, Stephen Schwartz). On the other hand I was happy that Ain't Misbehavin' got another hearing -- especially since Fats Waller' star faded way too early in his career and during his "forgotten " period sold Aint't Misbehavin's title song for $500.

And, oh, yes, there were several of BBTY's trademark unmiked songs. For a whole evening of listening to unamplified voices, put a star next to November 13th when the third Broadway Unplugged concert is scheduled, with the talent already committed to include Marc Kudisch and Tony winner (Jersey Boys) John Lloyd Young.

Song list for the June 19th concert in running order
Act One
A Broadway Musical - Group (A Broadway Musical)
Lawyers - Bryan Batt (A Broadway Musical)
Doatsy Mae - Lari (Best Little Whorehouse) It's An Art - Christine Pedi (Working)
I'm Just Wild About Harry - Julie (Eubie!) Just A Housewife - Nancy Opel(Working)
Fathers And Sons - Lennie Watts(Working)
Honeysuckle Rose - Mary Bond Davis (Aint Misbehavin')
Mean To Me - Mary Bond Davis (Aint Misbehavin')
The Mason - Carolee Carmello (Working) Keepin' Out Of Mischief Now - Noah Racey (Aint Misbehavin')
Ain't Misbehavin' - Chuck Cooper & Mary Bond Davis(Aint Misbehavin')

Act Two
Entr'acte - Railbird (The Band) (Angel)
Your Feets Too Big - Chuck Cooper(Aint Misbehavin')
I Rise Again - Christine Pedi (On The Twentieth Century)
Millwork - Lari White (Working)
Lullaby Of Baby To Baby - Julie Gannye (Runaways)
I'm Great Big Baby - Lennie Watts(Eubie!)
Hard Candy Christmas - Julie Gannye, Nancy Opel, Christine Pedi, Lari White(Whorehouse)
More Of The Same - Joyce Chittick and Sean Martin Hingston (Ballroom)
There's A Terrific Band And A Real Nice Crowd - Lari White (Ballroom)
Never - Nancy Opel (On The Twentieth Century) Fifty Percent - Carolee Carmello(Ballroom)
Joint Is Jumpin' - Full Company

The Broadway Musicals of 1968
Another Monday at Town Hall, another crowd of Broadway Musicals of 1968 stalwarts to settle into the by now familiar set-up: commentary to set the scene for the chosen year's musical offerings by host Scott Siegel, the songs rendered by BBTY regulars as well as new to the series talent.

1968 was a monumental year in terms of major historic upheavals -- the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Robert F. Kennedy, Walter Cronkite's pessimistic take on Vietnam prefacing the beginning of the end of that unpopular war. But it wasn't exactly a banner year for musicals.

Not that 1968 didn't have some hits -- after all it was the year of Hair which is still enjoying regional revivals and which provided the evening with its opening and closing ensemble numbers, "Aquarius" and "Let There the Sunshine In." It was also the year of Burt Bacharach's only Broadway show, Promises, Promises (as Siegel explained, Bacharach didn't enjoy his Broadway experience, apparently preferring everything to be the same as on a recording, rather than different every night).

Kander and Ebb's Zorba enjoyed reasonable success but overall, the year made for an evening with more songs from flops than usual which also posed a bigger challenge than ever for Siegel's commentary and the performances to make a silk purse out of some of the sows' ears. Unsurprisingly, our witty and knowledgeable host managed to trot out enough trenchant observations to make the talking part of the evening better than ever.

First time director Brad (The Producers) Oscar showed a nice touch for focusing on novelty numbers and the cast managed to make even the less than memorable songs gain altitude. The novelty emphasis paid off big time with a triple threat, show-stopping dance rendition of "Turkey Lurkey" from Promises, Promises, choreographed by Christina Marie Norrup and danced by her and fellow Broadway hoofers Kim Shriver and Courtney Young. Another novelty show stopper was the Lenya-like Lorinda Lisitza's "Das Chicago Song" from New Faces of 1968.

The complete cast consisted of the following: Brad Oscar (who also directed), Scott Coulter, Annie Golden, Adam Grupper, Lisa Howard, Lorinda Lisitza, Bill Nolte, Jack Noseworthy; singer/dancer/choreographer, Jeffry Denham and dancers Christina Norrup, Kim Shriver and CourtneyYoung. This was the penultimate show of this season. For its season closer the series will be moving right up with The Broadway Musicals of 1978 on Monday, June 19th. For the record, a list of all the numbers, the shows they came from and who performed them below:

Song list for the May 1st concert in running order
Aquarius (Hair) -- Shayna and Company
She Likes Basketball (Promises, Promises) - Jack
Panache (Darling of the Day) - Bill
Why Can't I Walk Away? (Maggie Flynn) - Brad
Hungry (Leonard Sillman's New Faces of 1968) - Annie
In Love with a Fool (I'm Solomon) - Lorinda
Loving You (The Education of Hyman Kaplan) - Adam
Love In a New Tempo (Leonard Sillman's New Faces of 1968) - Bill Nolte
Let's See What Happens (Darling of the Day) - Jack and Lorinda
Only Love (Zorba) -- Lisa
The Dangerous Age (Her First Roman) - Brad and Adam
I'll Never Fall In Love Again (Promises, Promises) -- Jack & Annie
Promises, Promises (Promises, Promises) - Scott
Give My Regards To Broadway (George M) - Jeffrey {dance -- OFF-MIKE;

ENTRA'CTE - Here is Where I Belong (Here is Where I Belong)
I Fell in With Evil Companions (Her First Roman) - Brad and the Men
The Butterfly (Zorba) - Lisa and Scott
Frank Mills (Hair) - Annie
Easy to Be Hard (Hair) - Shayna
Das Chicago Song (Leonard Sillman's New Faces of 1968) - Lorinda
Knowing When to Leave (Promises, Promises) - Lisa
I Don't Remember You (The Happy Time) - Jack
Turkey Lurkey Time (Promises, Promises) - (dance) Christina, Kim, and Courtney
Just For Today (Her First Roman) - Lisa
I've Got to Be Me (Golden Rainbow) - Scott Life Is (Zorba) - Company Let the Sunshine In (Hair) - Company

The Broadway Musicals of 1956
There's only one thing I don't like about the Broadway By the Year series. It seems as if no sooner have I posted my comments on the latest in Scott Siegel's musical nostalgia feasts than it's time to head for Town Hall again -- a reminder of time's almost scary way of rushing by. But, of course, that's not Scott Siegel's fault. He and the stellar performers he assembles for his BBTY series can try to help us recapture some of the highlights of a particular year on Broadway, or come across some shows and songs we never heard before -- but they can't stop the clock from moving forward.

At any rate, impresario Siegel was dapper as ever for the April 3rd BBTY 1956 evening -- perhaps more so, what with a colorful new bow tie and matching cummerbund to brighten his man in black look. As usual, his commentary put the songs in context. As he reminded those too young to remember 1956 a ringing bell that year didn't mean Verizon but Judy Holiday the switchboard operator in The Bells are Ringin'. It was also a highly productive years, bringing a ton of inventions that included the TV remote control. While that productiveness brought just a dozen musicals to Broadway, they were the result of an incredible array of talent and produced a slew of hits.

One of those shows, Li'l Abner, was more than just a musicalized comic strip but has been a standard on the regional theater and high school production roster -- it also provided Meryl Streep with her first leading lady role. Marc Kudisch and Ashley Brown got into blue jeans to recreate Daisy Mae and the title character for the Town Hall audience. Kudisch, who shold have a major Broadway starring vehicle written just for him, also partnered with director Emily Skinner for a gorgeous off mike rendition of "My Heart is Full of You" from Most Happy Fella. The pair also did a fun "Just in Time" from Bells are Ringin'

While there was only one big dance number, "I'm Available" from Mr. Wonderful (performed by Rachelle Rak and choreographed by Denis Jones), but that one was a Wow!!!. As for Candide, which was well represented, Ashley Brown's voice may not have Barbara Cook or Kristin Chenoweth's sky high reach, but in Glitter and Be Gay she compensated with a highly amusing delivery-- and truly glittered, courtesy of a raid on Barbara Siegel's most sparkling rhinestones.

I could go on, but will stop by urging you to mark your calendar for the May 1st The Broadway Musicals of 1968, and with a listing of the complete cast and song list.

The complete cast: Christine Andreas, Brent Barrett, Ashley Brown, Brandon Cutrell, John Treacy Egan, Marc Kudisch, Connie Pachl, Rachelle Rak, Devin Richards, Emily Skinner.

Act I
Standing on the Corner (Most Happy Fella) - Devin, Brandon, John Egan plus cast
Somebody, Somewhere (Most Happy Fella) - Christine; Druthers (Li'1 Abner) Ashley!Marc
I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face (My Fair Ladv) - Brent
April in Fairbanks (New Faces of 1956) - Connie
You Were Dead You Know (Candide) - Ashley Brandon
I Met a Girl (Bells Are Ringin') - Marc
On the Street Where You Live (My Fair Lady) - John Egan
Show Me (My Fair Lady) - Christine
I'm Past My Prime (Li'I Abner) - Ashlev/John Egan
My Heart is so Full of You (Most HappV Fella) - Emily/ Marc, OFF MIKE

Act II

Glitter & Be Gay (Candide) - Ashley
My Love (Candide) - Brent
Don't Tell Me (Happy Hunting) - Connie/John Egan
It Must Be So (Candide) - Brandon
Too Close For Comfort (Mr. Wonderful) - Devin
Mr. Wonderful (Mr. Wonderful) - Connie
I'm Available (Mr. Wonderful) - Rachelle dance
I Could Have Danced All Night (My Fair Lady) - Christine
Just in Time (Bells Are Ringin') Marc/Emily
Joey. Joey, Joey (Most Happy Fella) - Brent
The Party's Over (Bell's Are Ringin') - Christine -- OFF MIKE Make Our Garden Grow (Candide) Emir/Mare - Full Cast - OFF MIKE

The Broadway Musicals of 1930
The sixth season of Broadway by the Year series got off to a grand start on Monday, March 6th. While this was a depressing year in terms of the country's state of denial about the economy, with the worst still to come, there was penty to cheer about on the Great White Way -- 32 musical productions. Acoording to impresario Scott Siegel's trenchant as ever commentary, "there may have been a shortage of cash but certainly not of songs", and those 32 productions certainly outnumbered the new musicals opening during the 2005-06 season. The cornucopia of musical riches Siegel had to choose from, included the Gershwin Brother's Strike Up the Band and Girl Crazy. As Siegel noted, the latter show starred a 21-year-old Ethel Merman and featured a newcomer named Ginger Rogers while its pit pand musicians included Benny Goodman, Gene Krupa, Jimmy Dorsey and Glenn Miller.

Mark Kudisch, himself one of the musical theater's most accomplished singers, directed the show with imagination and humor. "I've Got Rhythm" by the full company made for a bang-up beginning. After that Kudisch astutely , and often playfully, had the talented performers -- some BBTY veterans, some welcome new additions like Celia Keenan-Bolger of The 25th Putnam County Spelling Bee fame -- alternate between solos, duets and ensemble arrangements. To underscore the aura of an evening that was more than a concert, Andy Blankenbuehler choreographed two numbers for Sean Martin Hingston and Shannon Lewis. Their amusing tango from Nina Rosa was one of the evening's big show stoppers, as was the 5-man military parade that gave us a rousing "Strike Up the Band."

I could go on, so the best way to sum up the evening's plentiful pleasures is with a list of the songs, their show origins and performers. As you can see, several numbers were, as is traditional for this invaluable series, performed without amplification.

Act I
Overture - Ross Patterson's Little Big Band
I Got Rhythm (Girl Crazy) - Full Company
Take Me Back to Manhattan (The New Yorkers) - Deven May (unamplified)
Embraceable You (Girl Crazy) - Michael Winther and Celia Keenan-Bolger
On the Sunny Side of the Street (The International Revue) - Miles Phillips
He Came Along (Smiles) - Mary Testa
Soon (Strike Up the Band) - Emily Skinner and Douglas Ladnier
Memories of You (Blackbirds of 1930) - Michael Winther
Exactly Like You (The International Revue) - Sean Martin Hingston
If I Were You, Love, I'd Jump Right in the Lake (Smiles) - Deven May
I've Got a Bug in My Head (The International Revue) - Celia Keenan-Bolger
But Not For Me (Girl Crazy) - Nancy Anderson
Strike Up the Band (Strike Up the Band) - Miles Phillips, Douglas Ladnier, Michael Winther, Sean Martin Hingston, Deven May
I Happen to Like New York (The New Yorkers) - Mary Testa

Act II
Entracte: Let's Go Eat Worms in the Garden (Fine & Dandy - Ross Patterson's Little Big Band
Right From the Start of It (Three's a Crowd) - Marc Kudisch
Time On My Hands (Smiles) - Deven May, with Shannon Lewis
My First Love--My Last Love (Nina Rosa) - Mary Testa
Body & Soul (Three's a Crowd) - Douglas Ladnier
Barbary Coast (Girl Crazy) - Jennifer Simard
He Was Too Good to Me (Simple Simon) - Celia Keenan-Bolger
Ten Cents a Dance (Simple Simon) - Nancy Anderson
Serenade of Love (Nina Rosa) - Sean Martin Hingston and Shannon Lewis
Who Cares? (Who Cares?) - Michael Winther (unamplified) Love For Sale (The New Yorkers) - Celia Keenan-Bolger, Nancy Anderson, and Emily Skinner (unamplified)
I've Got a Crush on You (Girl Crazy) - Emily Skinner
Get Happy (The 9:15 Revue) - Full Company

The Broadway Musicals of 1962

The year 1962 proved an excellent choice for winding up this season's Broadway by the Years series. Plenty of hit shows and enough songs worth rescuing from the great theatrical beyond neighborhood reserved for flops. The cast too comprised the as always enjoyable mix of Broadway by the Year regulars and newcomers -- plus a couple of unannounced surprise performers from Le Cage aux Folles.

The tradition of presenting some numbers unplugged got off to a grand start with the first up surprise guest, Robert Goulet, proving that he still has charm to spare and a voice rich enough to sing "If Ever I Would Leave You," without amplification. The other surprise guests were two of the long-legged Cagelles from Le Cage who brought down the house with their appearance in "Everybody Ought to Have a Maid" from A Funny Thing Happened to Me On the Way to the Forum.

The last Broadway by the Year show-stopping guest star, Bryan Batt, donned a new hat this time around as director. Except for the disappointment of an injury that prevented him from putting on his performer's hat for at least once number, his directorial debut rated an A+. The multi-talented Batt (he is also a successful designer and can be seen on the Style Network's Guess Who's Coming to Decorate) is sure to wear the director's hat again, though of course one hopes he'll continue to give us the pleasure of watching his performances.

Host Scott Siegel, sporting a spiffy white jacket and black shirt, added his usual informative and amusing narration to put a historical frame around the songs. Thus we were reminded that 1962 not only brought the first ever show with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim (Forum) but saw the first American troops sent to Vietnam. We learned that Irving Berlin was 72 when Mr. President was enough of a disappointment to turn him into a recluse for the rest of his long life. To once again prove that there are a few jewels buried in every flop, that show's Secret Service was a first act highlight. It was delightfully staged and ably sung by Christine Pedi and Felicia Finley, Pedi, whose comedic talents won many fans for Forbidden Broadway also did a terrific "Miss Marmelstein" from I Can Get It For You Wholesale.

With six strong-voiced, charismatic performers to create a wonderfully integrated ensemble, it's hard to pick favorites. Scott Coulter's thrillingly sweet tenor got plenty of airings. Liz Callaway continues to make her mark as an outstanding ballad singer. Brad Oscar, back in New York after a successful run in The Producers in London, illustrated what it takes to be a top drawer musical theater pro. My favorite Oscar number was his "Momma Momma " from I Can Get It For You Wholesale and his "I'm All I've Got " from a little known show called Bravo, Giovanni. Somewhat surprisingly, his off-mike "Once in a Lifetime " from Stop the World was not as successful as his other numbers.

Instead of going on and on about this favorite and that, I'm including a list of the entire program, in order presented. Before I go, a recommendation to buy your ticket now for the second Broadway Unplugged show on September 19th. Also mark your calendar now for the 2006 Broadway By the Year Monday night shows: March 6, Musicals of 1930. . .April 3, Musicals of 1956. . .May 1, Musicals of 1968. . .June 19, Musicals of 1978.

Broadway by the Year: 1962 Program
Act II

The Broadway Musicals of 1955

Like the last in Scott Siegel's invaluable Broadway by the Year series, 1955 wasn't exactly abuzz with hits. The one big break-out musical with 1019 performances and numerous revivals, was Damn Yankees. Not surprisingly it was represented with four of its most popular numbers: a show-stopping surprise guest appearance by Bryan Batt for "Those Were the Good Old Days" . . .  a drop dead song and dance rendition of "Whatever Lola Wants" by Rachelle Rak (choreographed by Denis Jones). . .  "A Little Brains, A Little Talent." by Dee Hoty . . .  and to wind things up, a delightful unmiked rendition of "Heart" by Alexander Gemignani, Justin Bohon and Raymond McLeod.

More surprisingly, a long-forgotten flop from that year, Ankles Aweigh, was represented even more prominently than Damn Yankees with five numbers. While even Soctt Siegel's determination to find something good in every show couldn't make any of these songs sound magically memorable, director Emily Skinner (a new role for the golden voiced Skinner) did manage to stage them most enjoyably. A shining example of this was "Be Happy You're a Misfit" from The Vamp, a 60-performance flop with Alexander Gemignani, Liz Larsen, Sal Viviano and Connie Rachl giving the misfits an amusing and tuneful second life.

Siegel, unwilling to keep the golden voiced Skinner entirely back stage in her debut as a director, saw to it that the audience heard her at least once -- and that once was another of the series' traditionally unplugged numbers, "This Is All Very New to Me", from a minor 1955 hit, Plain and Fancy. (The third unplugged song was " Everybody's Got a Home Now " from Pipe Dreams by the big-voiced Raymond McLeod).

In a departure from using only songs from stage productions, Siegel picked one number from the movie version of Cole Porter's Silk Stockings, but not in the stage version which had a respectable 478 performance run. With the nimble-footed Justin Bohon and Rachelle Rak to perform it and Denis Jones once again choreographing , "The Ritz Roll & Rock" was indeed fun to watch -- even though as a song it remains unmemorable. Bohon did his own choreography for "Honeymoon " from Ankles Away)

As usual, the show's creator and host put everything in context with his commentary. So, in case anyone forgot, he noted that there was lots of sex that year to launch the baby boom. It was also the year that saw the birth of Disneyland and the Mouseketeers and Leggo. And eat your heart out car owners, gas was 27cents a gallon.

The next and last of the season's concerts will look at The Broadway Musicals of 1962 which had plenty of hits like Forum, Stop The World I Want To Get Off, Little Me, No Strings, All American, I Can Get It For You Wholesale. The date is Monday, June 13th -- see you there.

The Broadway Musicals of 1945

It's hard to top the perfection of the last installment of The Broadway Musicals by the Year series. Unlike the year 1929, the year 1945 was more notable for ending a horrific world war than a rich harvest of hit musicals. Thus Scott Siegel wisely opted to focus on the one enduring hit show, Carousel, and also to provide his loyal audience with more than the usual offerings of unplugged or unamplified songs.

To further compensate for the emphasis on a single show (seven Carousel numbers, with just one to three entries from lesser known shows), Scott ended the first act with not just a song but a complete scene that beautifully illustrated Marc Kudisch's and Christiane Noll's acting as well as singing talents. While the cast was, as usual, excellent, Kudisch and Noll were, like Carousel, the evening's most sparkling jewels. Kudisch is probably the sexiest bald man on stage since the late Yul Brynner and his voice is glorious.

If I have any complaint it's that Noah Racey, the charming hoofer who's been an increasingly popular member of past BWBY shows was underutilized; also Kerry Butler took casual attire a bit too far with two numbers sung in a dressing gown and I would have liked to see more of the briefly but outstandingly featured Nili Bassman.

Of course, no BBTY would be complete without Scott Siegel's putting it in context for us with his astutlely selected bits of commentary. We learned that the by the time the famous Stage Door Canteen ended along with the war, its hostesses had danced some ten million miles on stage. Scott commented that while 1945 ended the lives of both Jerome Kern and Vincent Youman, it marked the arrival of such future Broadway babies as John Lithgow and James Naughton. Always the gentleman, the only newborn female he mentioned was the elusive Nina of the famous Hirschfeld illustrations. And, yes indeed, Scott's lovely and hard-working wife Barbara was given her usual tribute.

Be sure to mark the next BBTY date on your calendar: Monday, May 2nd -- the year under surveillance, 1955. You might also want to pencil a brand new triple event: A Tribute to Kander & Ebb, 10/21/05 featuring Ann Reinking and Brent Barrett. . . An Evening of Contemporary and Classic Broadway songs by Euan Morton & Louise Pitre, 10/22/05. . .Broadway Originals! featuring Debbie Gravitte and Michael Cerveris. All three evenings at Town Hall and hosted by (who else?) Scott Siegel.

The complete Broadway by the Year 1945 cast: Scott Ailing, Nili Bassman, Kerry Butler, Eddie Korbich, Marc Kudisch, Karen Mason, Christiane Noll, Noah Racey. Direction was by Gabriel Barre and the music by The Ross Patterson Little Big Band.
The Broadway Musicals of 1929

The year 1929, was a bad year for many people, the bad news scenario cresting with October 29th, But for Scott Siegel's retrospectives of Broadway Musicals by the Year, now in its fifth season, 1929 proved to be the best ever. As usual, Siegel, the charmingly low-key and erudite host, regaled the audience with pertinent facts about the year in general and the Broadway Musical scene in particular.

A look around the sold-out house, confirmed the introductory comment about the invention of penicillin being a good thing, since many people there were were apparently born in or close to 1929. Kellog's introduction of Rice Krispies was reflected in the evening's snap, crackle and pop performances by Leslie Anderson, Nancy Anderson, Christine Pedi Andreas, Bryan Batt, Ron Bohmer, Mary Bond Davis, Jeffrey Denman, Noah Racey and Emily Skinner. Given the composers and lyricists with shows on Broadway (Noel Coward Cole Porter, Richard Rodgers, Lorenz Hart, George and Ira Gershwin, Jerome Kern, Oscar Hammerstein II, and more), there were plenty of great selections to choose from -- including many still instantly recognizable standards like "Button Up Your Overcoat," "More Than You Know," "Without a Song," "With a Song In My Heart" and "What is this Thing Called Love?"

To borrow a line from one of the many smart lyrics Gabriel Barre's direction gave the evening a "smooth as satin" polish. Unlike so many current Broadway shows, every one of those lyrics could be heard clearly (including the as usual thrillingly "unplugged" numbers that are a BWBY hallmark). Good as all the previous evenings in this series were, this one seemed an especially perfect blend of ballads and comic numbers to show off these splendid singers' acting chops.

The fact most of the cast members are BBTY veterans has brought an ensemble cohesiveness that belies the short rehearsal time. The duets, trios and company number are enhanced by the sense that these performers are all having a good time and enjoy working together. The show's own Fred Astaire, Noah Racey, continues to charm with his dandy choreography -- someone out there should be writing a musical for him and the adorable and super-talented Nancy Anderson. Throw in parts for Bryan Batt and Emily Skinner -- and for that matter everyone else making 1929 the best ever BBTY -- and it would be a sure-fire winner.

One of 1929's biggest hits, Cole Porter's 50 Million Frenchmen was represented with five songs, starting with an itimate Piaf-like rendition of "You Don't Know Paree" by Christine Andreas. A little known George and Ira Gershwin musical, Show Girl yielded a splendid opening solo "Liza " by Bryan Batt.

With twenty-eight songs and all presented with individuality and great style, I could obviously go on and on, but will instead include a song list below and suggest that you keep your eye out for a CD of the March 7th evening -- and make sure that you don't miss the rest of the BBTY season: The Broadway Musicals of 1945, April 4; The Broadway Musicals of 1955, May 2 and The Broadway Musicals of 1962, June 13. All at The Town Hall, 123 West 43rd Street, 212-840-2824 or 212-307-4100.

Broadway By the Year 1929 Song List
Act I
1) Overture 2) I Can't Remember the Words - Company (minus Mary, Ron, Christine)
(SR) Bryan - 1, Noah - 2, Nancy - 3; (SL) Leslie - 4, Emily - 5, Jeff - 6
3) Liza - Bryan - 1 (SR)
4) You Don't know Paree - Christine - 3 (SR)
5) I've Made a Habit of You - Nancy & Noah - 2 (SR) 6) My Husband's First Wife - Leslie - 1 (SR/SL)
7) I'm Unlucky at Gambling - Emily - 3 (SR) - with Noah (SL) and Jeff (SR)
8) Keep Your Undershirt On - Leslie - 1 & Bryan (SL/SR)
9) Why Can't I - Emily - 5 (SL/SR) & Nancy - 2 (SR) - with Jeff (SR/SL)
10) I Guess I'll Have to Change My Plan - Noah - 4 (SL)
11) Find Me a Primitive Man - Emily - 3 (SR)
- with Jeff (SL), Bryan (SL), Stage Hand (SL), Scott (ONSTAGE)
12) It's You I Love - Nancy (SR)
13) Moanin' Low - Mary (SL)
14) Without a Song - Ron (SR)

Act II
15) A Great Day - Entra'acte
16) If Love Were All - Christine - 6 (SL)
17) I May Be Wrong But I Think You're Wonderful - Nancy & Bryan - 1 (SR/SL)
18) Can't We Be Friends - Leslie - 1 (Leave in stand) (SL)
19) You Do Something to Me - Ron - 6 (SL/SR) - with Leslie (ONSTAGE/SR)
20) Why Was I Born - Mary - 5 (SL)
21) A Ship Without a Sail - Ron - 6 (SL/SR) & Christine - 3 (SR/SL)
22) More Than You Know - Emily (SR)
23) I Want to be Bad - Nancy - 4 (SL) - with Scott (ONSTAGE)
24) Educate Your Feet - Noah & Jeff (SR)
25) Gigolo - Bryan - 1 (Onstage in stand) (SR)
26) What Is This Thing Called Love - Ron - 6 (SR)
27) You've Got That Thing - Mary - 5 (SL) 28) With a Song In My Heart - Company (minus Mary) (SR) Nancy & Noah - 2, Leslie & Jeff - 1; (SL) Emily & Bryan - 5, Christine & Ron - 4 Curtain Call 29) Button Up Your Overcoat - Full Company (Add Mary - 3 (SL))
2005 Schedule for the Broadway By the Year Series
March 7, 2005: The Broadway Musicals of 1929. Featured shows: Fifty Million Frenchmen, Bitter Sweet, Spring is Here, Sweet Adeline, The Little Show, Hot Chocolates, Show Girl.

April 4, 2005: The Broadway Musicals of 1945. Featured shows: Carousel, The Day Before Spring, Up In Central Park, Billion Dollar Baby, Polonaise, The Firebrand of Florence.

May 2, 2005: The Broadway Musicals of 1955. Featured shows: Damn Yankees, Silk Stockings, Pipe Dream, Ankles Aweigh, Plain and Fancy.

June 13, 2005: The Broadway Musicals of 1962. Featured shows: Forum, Stop The World I Want To Get Off, Little Me, No Strings, All American, I Can Get It For You Wholesale.
From Brooklyn to Hollywood

Scott Siegel, who might be regarded as a young and more charming Woody Allen, appeared on stage just long enough to introduce the hostess of this Monday night ode to Brooklyn as seedbed for musical talent, Tovah Feldshuh. Not to take anything away from Siegel, whose wry commentary has contributed as much to the success of the Broadway by the Year series as the incredible lineup of talent, the versatile Feldshuh proved to be quite the "hostess with the mostest." Clearly enjoying a night away from carrying the burdens of Israel on her shoulders as Golda Meir in Golda's Balcony.

Feldshuh got the show off the ground by zestfully singing "The Song's Gotta Come From the Heart" from It Happened in Brooklyn. (She took center stage again in the second act with "My Brooklyn Love Song" from If You Knew Susie. Feldshuh then moved into her narrator/host role that included firing off round after round of jokes, cheerleading the performers -- not to mention plugging her Broadway gig.

With Scott Siegel producing and writing the show, the overall format was basically the same as the Broadway by the Year series relying on the terrific talent at hand to make even no longer familiar songs fun and enjoyable. There were more solos, but the one duet, the ensemble dance number and sole Off Mike song were grand: The duet had Annie Golden join Stephen Bogardus in a lovely rendition of George Gershwin's "Embracable You". . .for the ensemble piece Lennie Watts and Scott Coulter sang a terrific Medley from Saturday Night Fever while Noah Racey put aside his director's baton to dance. . . the single Off Mike song, "I'm the Greatest Star" from Funny Girl was delivered by Sharon McKnight, who also did show stopping Mae West Medley in the second act.

Besides the already mentioned talent, there was the velvet voiced Scott Coulter, power house belters like Natalie Douglas, Christine Pedy and Alix Korey. And not to be overlooked, was that endearing and multi-talented showman Mark Nadler. I'm sure that Danny Kaye must have smiled down from wherever he may be at hearing Nadler recreate some of his most memorable songs. Kudos also to the musicians, Ian Herman (musical director/arranger/pianist), Ritt Henn (bass) and Sean McDanil (drums. --Elyse Sommer, May 4, 2004

The Broadway Musicals of 1949

Psychotherapist Emile Coue's famous dictum "Every day, in every way, I'm getting better and better " has found a new application vis-à-vis Scott Siegel's Broadway By The Year evenings at Town Hall. Just when you've seen an unmatched lineup of stars and it seems as if these evenings are as good as they can be, Siegel's next show proves that the series does indeed keep getting better and better.

No wonder the Broadway By The Year Mondays have been gaining fans faster than you can say "Apple Fritters" -- which in The Broadway Musicals of 1949 was one of several delightful numbers by Cady Huffman, best known as Ulla of The Producers. "Call It Apple Fritters" from Milton Pascal and Richard Stutz's Along Fifth Avenue, one of many minor shows of a particular year in which Siegel typically manages to find a few worthy tunes for one or several of the talented performers to bring to new and enjoyable life. Some of these minor shows were just under-appreciated in their day, as demonstrated by the three lovely songs from Maxwell Anderson and Kurt Weill's Lost in the Stars.

Of course 1949 was also the year that brought us two of the greatest hits ever, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and South Pacific. The terrific interpretations of the selected songs went a long way to illustrate that this show had "legs " even without Carol Channing. "Bye-Bye Baby" was memorably sung by Marla Schaffel and the velvet-voiced Scott Coulter. And speaking of legs who could resist Cady Huffman slinkily draped over a piano for "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend?"

The South Pacific segments also included some gorgeous new interpretations, and a number of thrilling off mike selections. The ensemble's choral presentation of "Baili Ha'i" was one of the best renditions of that song I've ever heard. There were also two splendid numbers by two of the dynamic ladies of the night, Marla Schaeffel's moving "You've Got to Be Carefully Taught" and Ziemba's delightful "Cockeyed Optimist." (Schaeffel and Ziemba also had a wonderful novelty duet, "You Can Have Him" from Irving Berlin's Miss Liberty). Martin Vidnovic, whose voice seems to have it's own built-in mike, stopped the show with "Some Enchanted Evening" and "This Nearly Was Mine".

While singing -- on or off mike-- gets top priority in all these shows, the few dance numbers were once again knockouts. The charming Noah Racey who also appeared in the Broadway Musicals of 1935 joined the Navy with a diverse ensemble that has all the men -- from the evening's Emile deBeque, Martin Vidnovic, to the endearing, roly-poly Lennie Watts -- sing "There's Nothing Like a Dame" (with even the always modestly at the side of the stage Siegel in a sailor's cap). He also cavorted gracefully with his two colleagues, Nancy Lemenager and Karen Ziemba from tNever Gonna Dance. Watching him and Ziemba take an "Old Fashioned Walk" (from Mis Liberty) stirred hopes that some creative team is going to come up with a great new musical for them.

The year 1949 is an astute follow up to the last show's focus on the Great Depression when many people couldn't afford cars, let alone paying the 17 cents a gallon that was the price during 1949. Siegel's as always informative commentary sets the mood for the more optimistic post war climate in which these famous and not so famous shows were launched. This is echoed musically by the ensemble's opening salvo "It's Great to Be Alive," from Texas Li'l Darlin.

If you missed this and or the 1926 and 1936 events, you've got one more chance on June 14th when the series jumps forward to the year 1963. Performance date: April 19, 2004

Broadway By the Year: The Musicals of 1949
Creator, writer, host: Scott Siegel
Director: Robert Bianca
Cast: Scott Coulter,Cady Huffman, Nancy Lemenager, Noah Racey, Marla Schaffel, Karen Ziemba, Martin Vidnovic, Lennie Watts, Robert Westenberg
Music: Ross Patterson Little Big Band: Ross Patterson, director, arranger, pianist; Don Falzone, bass; Aaron Heick, woodwinds; Eric Halvorson, guitar/banjo/ukelele
Lighting Design: John Gordon
Sheet Music Consultant: Michael Lavine

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The Broadway Musicals of 1935

The year 1935 was a year of sliver thin wallets. It was the height of the Great Depression and instead of its usual feast of new musicals, Broadway launched a mere ten -- and all lost money.

But as the Depression did not deter showman Billy Rose from putting on a costly super spectacle named Jumbo (which besides animal acts featured the music of Rodgers and Hart), neither did it deter Town Hall's own favorite impresario and host Scott Siegel, rom making his retrospective of that year one of his best yet. The year might have been a famine in terms of the number of news shows, but given the pedigree of their composers and lyricists Siegel has managed to translate that famine into a feast.

To accompany his always witty and informative commentary, Siegel assembled a dozen Broadway and cabaret luminaries, twice as many as last time. What's more he had them perform even more of the over two dozen numbers off mike, one of the series' much loved trademark features. Thus, while there were fewer than usual shows to choose from, those shows contained more than enough music from by now legendary composers and lyricists to satisfy the most demanding musical gourmet.

It's hard to single out any of the performers for special praise since all were absolutely superb. Chuck Cooper, the singing washing machine and bus of the Broadway bound Caroline, Or Change, opened and closed the first act with two gloriously unmiked songs from George and Ira Gershwin's Porgy and Bess -- "I Got Plenty of Nothin'" and "Bess, you is My Woman"; the latter a duet with Laurie Williamson whose magnificent diva voice can currently be heard in the ensemble of Wonderful Town.

Douglas Sills, who can be seen every day except Mondays as the sadistic dentist in Little Shop of Horrors, was appealingly romantic in his rendition of "My Romance" from Jumbo and "Begin the Beguine" (from Jubilee). I also liked his amusing vaudeville turn from Earl Caroll's Sketchbook with Todd Murray (new to me but certainly someone whose name I'll look for in future). Karen Akers, after singing a lovely solo, "Little Girl Blues" from Jumbo was the silent object of Sills' flirtatious "Cigarette" from George White's Scandas of 1936.

Emily Skinner and Barbara Walsh rendered a particularly gorgeous off mike "Over and Over Again" (from Jumbo). From the same show, Darius de Haas did full justice to "The Most Beautiful Girl In the World", which also afforded Siegel the chance to toss one of his regular bouquets to his wife Barbara (who is indeed a lovely lady).

While these shows are primarily about beautifully rendered songs (smartly arranged by Ross Patterson), Nancy Lemenager and Noah Racey made this a night for dancing as well as singing. I was so impressed with their grace and charm that if Never Gonna Dance in which they starred hadn't recently closed, I'd go back to see them. Their elegant movements were a lovely and fitting accompaniment for Karen Akers' show closing solo, "Dance My Darlings" from Sigmund Romberg & Oscar Hammerstein II's May Wine.

All the above is of course just a smattering of the goodies dished up during the two hours plus. And while I can't tell you to go see this particular show, I can tell you about the two Broadway By the Year shows that are next in line: On April 19th it's The Broadway Musicals of 1949 and on June 14th its forward to The Broadway Musicals of 1963. The first will highlight songs from South Pacific (Rodgers & Hammerstein), Miss Liberty (Irving Berlin), Touch and Go (Walter & Jean Kerr/Jay Gorney), Lost in the Stars (Weill/Anderson), Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (Jule Styne/ Leo Robin). The second will include songs from Oliver! (Lionel Bart), She Loves Me (Bock & Harnick), Here's Love (Meredith Wilson), 110 in the Shade (Schmidt & Jones), The Girl Who Came to Supper (Noel Coward), and more. Performance Date March 15, 2004.

Broadway By the Year: The Musicals of 1935
Creator, writer, host: Scott Siegel
Director: Melinda Buckley
Cast: Karen Akers, Gretha Boston, Chuck Cooper, Darius deHaas, Nancy Lemenager, Todd Murray, Noah Racey, Douglas Sills, Emily Skinner, Lumiri Tubo, Barbara Walsh, Laurie Williamson
Music: Ross Patterson Little Big Band: Ross Patterson, director, arranger, pianist; Don Falzone, bass; Aaron Heick, woodwinds; J. McGeehan, guitar/banjo/ukelele
Lighting Design: John Gordon
Sheet Music Consultant: Michael Lavine

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The Broadway Musicals of 1926>

The unassuming but oh so witty impresario, Scott Siegel, has done it again. With the help of a star-studded cast of six and Ross Patterson's Little Big Band, Siegel once again delivered an evening full of humorous and informative anecdotes punctuated with marvelously performed melodies from the great and not so great Broadway musicals of the year under consideration. The mix of bite-sized history lessons and music was fun from the time a voiceover of Siegel, tells everyone to "put away your cell phone and put on a smile" until he took his usual place at the side of the stage and congratulated anyone born in 1926 for outwitting the statistical predictions of an average life span of fifty-four.

The year 1926 was, as the narrative portion of the show explains, an optimistic one and on Broadway the names Rodgers & Hart popped up on marquees again and again. Watching this during a much more meager show season, one can only marvel at the total of 40 new musicals that opened -- all available at under $5. Oh, Kay! The Desert Song, The Garrick Gaieties of 1926, Scandals of 1926 are just a few of the shows sampled.

Sutton Foster, best known to New York audiences as that thoroughly modern flapper of Thoroughly Modern Millie, was billed as the guest star. Essentially, like all these evenings, this is an ensemble piece and Nancy Opel and Nancy Anderson had every bit as much star power as Foster. In fact, if I had to pick one of these ladiesas the one I'd most like to see starring in her own big Broadway hit it would be Nancy Anderson. Her rendition of that irresistible toe-tapper and hummer, "Black Bottom" was one of many of the evening's highlights.

As long as I'm wishing on a star, I'd want Marc Kudisch to be Anderson's co-star. Kudisch, who actually played opposite Foster when Millie first opened and most recently has been one of the main reasons to see The Thing About Men, is a return visitor to this series. He is not only a superb show tune belter but a terrific comic actor.

Eddie Korbich, who delighted audiences in last season's final Broadway By the Year, again displayed his physical agility along with his fine voice and comic charm.

Nancy Opel, a theatrical double-dipper who's appeared not only in musicals but in straight plays -- notably as a regular in the short works of David Ives -- was a revelation as a glamorous torch singer. Bill Daugherty added the pleasure of a most satisfying big Irish tenor voice.

The audience seems to love the anecdotes as much as the performances. Siegel's jokes simply refuse to fall flat and his commentary is truly the glue that ties the evening together and justifies another hearing for songs from flops. The viewers were was most ecstatic -- and rightly so -- about the signature "unplugged" numbers delivered as they were originally sung -- without microphones. Accustomed as we've had to become to the hollow sound of over-ampliefied musicals, listening to these pure sounds is indeed a treat.

Since the Broadway By The Year series plays one night readers who weren't at Town Hall on February 9th can only partake of The Musicals of 1926 when it becomes available as a CD, as previous shows have. However, this is, as I said, the first of a 4-show season and as of now tickets are available for The Broadway Musicals of 1935 (March 15th), The Broadway Musicals of 1949 (April 19th), and The Broadway Musicals of 1963 (June 14th).
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The Broadway Musicals of 1960

Unlike Leo Bloom, Scott Siegel didn't really dream of being a producer. But then he's not exactly a nerdy numbers cruncher but a talented fellow whose by-line appears on some forty books and who, with his wife Barbara, has written about film, cabaret and theater for years. In short, while unassuming in manner, Siegel is a bundle of energy and talent who has combined his love of musical theater and writing ability to create a terrific series of musical evenings that have, like the Lyrics and Lyricists and Encores series, attracted a loyal following in just a few years. So far he has donned his three hats -- producer, on-stage host and writer of the informative commentary with which he introduces the songs -- nine times. If the jam-packed house at last Monday's latest edition, The Broadway Musicals of 1960, is any indication, these smartly conceived evenings will take us through many another year in musical theater history.

Each Broadway By the Year evening features a line-up of at least half a dozen top caliber musical theater pros, some taking a night off from their regular gig. For the year 1960 celebration, Tovah Feldshuh put aside her cares as prime minister of Israel (her role in the now off-Broadway, soon to move to Broadway Golda's Balcony) to sing "I Loved You Once in Silence" from Camelot (a show which understandably established the social context for Siegel's astute and often amusing commentary) and two comic turns , complete with hilarious costumes and a somersault (really!).

Marc Kudish, the deliciously pompous Trevor Graydon of Thoroughly Modern Millie, sang a duet with each of the evening's charming and gifted leading ladies, Liz Larsen and Lisa Vroman (Beauty and the Beast's current Christine). Both Kudish and the charismatic Brent Barrett gorgeously fulfilled the By-the-Year mission to present some songs completely off mike -- Barrett with "I'll Never Say No" from The Unsinkable Molly Brown and Kudish with "If Ever I Would Leave" from Camelot.

Rounding out the cast of the 1960 evening were Douglas Ladnier and Eddie Korbich; the latter's nimble-footed "Put On a Happy Face" from Bye Bye Birdie was one of the evening's song-and-dance highlights. While, typical of productions like this, there are no sets, the overall presentation is thoroughly polished with just enough in the way of costumes and choreography to evoke a sense of each of the shows represented. Those shows include not just the big hits, but songs worth a second hearing from shows best forgotten.

Thanks to Town Hall's excellent acoustics and the musicians of Ross Patterson's Little Big Band (bass, drums, woodwinds and piano) who never overwhelm the performers, you hear real voices even when mikes are used -- a refreshing change from so many current Broadway musicals in which the songs seem blasted out of a tunnel as if determined to blast you out of your seat.

If, like me, you've missed some of the previous Broadway By the Year revues, a number of them have been recorded and you'll be able to purchase the CD's at the next show which, in case I've whetted your appetite, you can catch in just a couple of weeks on Monday June 23rd. That show will actually be a repeat since Broadway By the Year 1925 fell victim to a major snow storm. Performance date: June 9, 2003
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