Let’s hear it for the Broadway veterans who made their mark years ago and still have what it takes to put over numbers from their old shows. Enjoyable pro examples spiced up “Broadway Originals!” (Oct. 16, 2011), the first in the series of this year’s 7th Annual Broadway Cabaret Festival produced by The Town Hall.
Tammy Grimes, who had hip replacement surgery and came on stage with a walker, recalled her heyday in “The Unsinkable Molly Brown” by singing, accompanied by Bob Goldstone, “My Own Brass Bed,” “I’ll Never Say No” and “I Ain’t Down Yet.” She received a huge, affectionate ovation.
Creator/writer/host Scott Siegel—direction was by Scott Coulter, with musical direction by John Fischer-- noted that French singerYvonne Constant appeared on Broadway 53 years ago with the show “La Plume de Ma Tante. “What was the audience to expect? Out came Constant, wearing a mini outfit showing off her Marlene Dietrich legs. Trim and effervescent, Constant drew applause from the crowd for looking so great even before zestfully launching into her number “One of Those Songs.” Her delivery was impeccable, much to the delight of the audience, which reciprocated with loud applause.
Marilyn Michaels, who starred in “Catskills on Broadway,” regaled us with her remarkable, cleverly constructed and delivered impersonations. She is a born show-stealer, and her routine reached heights of hilarity as the audience readily identified her various targets. She can also pack power into a song, as she did with “Don’t Rain on My Parade.”
Marianne Tatum, who has a superb, thrilling voice, harked back to “Barnum,” in which she appeared, and sang “Love Makes Such Fools of Us All,” and also “L’Amour, Toujours, L’Amour” from “The Three Musketeers.” Lorraine Serabian sang the nutty “No Boom Boom” from “Zorba,” which also yielded another number for her, “Life Is.”
Daisy Eagan, who has grown up since her childhood performance in “The Secret Garden,” sang “The Girl I Used To Be.”
The coolest attractions were the numbers by the Manhattan Rhythm Kings (Tripp Hanson, Brian M. Nalepka and Hal Shane), who gave easy-going renditions of “Bidin’ My Time” and “The Real American Folk Song” from “Crazy for You.” Another combination was the trio of Marva Hick, Vanessa A. Jones and Ramona Keller, who, accompanied by Jeanine Tesori, gave a dynamic offering of “Salty Teardrops” from “Caroline, or Change.” The twosome of Jesus Garcia and Ben Davis impressed with “O Mimmi tu piu non torni from “La Boheme,” sung without mikes.
The delicate, nuanced voice of Alexander Gemignani provided a touching interpretation of “Bring Him Home” from “Les Miserables.” Reaching further into nostalgia, Bob Stillman sang “Drift Away” form “Grey Gardens,” Sarah Uriarte Berry sang “Safe in the City” from “Taboo” and Andrea Frierson sang “The Human Heart” from “Once on This Island.” Reviewed at The Town Hall, 123 West 43rd Street. Phone: 212-840-2824.