by Jan Wallman
The best antidote to the End-of-the-Winter-Blahs that I can think of is April in Paris. If you can’t hop on Air France for an extended trip, try a simpler fix and go to the Reprise Room to see RENDEZVOUS. I promise you, this light-hearted revue of the songs of Piaf, Brel Aznavour & Friends will transport you. The singers (two men, two women) a pianist and a bass player and the nostalgic songs are all you need to take you away for an hour of restorative pleasure.
The attractive cast, Philip Anderson, Greg Purnhagen, Katie Geissinger and Carmen Lamar-Daehler, open with the peppy “Brussels,” the well-remembered Jacques Brel rouser, This sets the tone for the show and it continues with group numbers, duets and solos of the very familiar Piaf, Brel and Aznavour songs you would expect, plus a lot of Cole Porter and several other composers who wrote songs about Paris. Most impressive was Philip Anderson, whose version of the Aznavour story song “What Make a Man a Man,” was truly, as the French say, formidable.
Produced by Terry Moyer of Creative Minds Productions, with Musical Director Tedd Firth and bassist Sean Conly, RENDEZVOUS is a Gallic potpourri of diverting nostalgia. If you love Paris and this mixed bag is your bag, you’ll be loving it.
a special, melodic romantic evening of music
Oscar E Moore from the rear mezzanine for Talk Entertainment.com
A lovely evening with Piaf, Brel, Aznavour and Friends can be yours at The Reprise Room at Dillon’s on West 54th Street, Thursday March 13th and 27th at 7:30 pm – and with the dollar so low against the euro, it would be money well spent to treat yourself and your loved one to this special, melodic, romantic evening in the Big Apple - forsaking that “tres” expensive trip to Paris.
Recently reopened, The Reprise Room is located at the rear of Dillon’s. You almost feel as if you have to knock and say a pass word to enter. But once inside the intimate room, you immediately anticipate the promise of songs made famous by Piaf, Aznavour and Brel that are on the evening’s menu.
The songs are beautifully served up by a quartet of accomplished singers – Philip Anderson, Katie Geissinger, Carmen Lamar-Daehler and Gregory Purnhagen and accompanied by an incredibly talented pianist, musical director Tedd Firth, with Sean Conly on bass. It’s a soothing respite from the troubles that surround us daily.
How can anyone resist the four part harmony rendition of “April in Paris”? Or Philip Anderson’s duet with Greg Purnhagen – “Windmills of Your Mind/Little Boy Lost”? Or Carmen’s “La Vie En Rose”? Or Katie’s “Milord” and “No Regrets”? Or “La Vie En Rose”? My personal favorite was Philip’s superb “What Makes a Man a Man?”
There are about twenty five numbers performed, and there is not a bad one in the lot. The French have a way of telling a great story with their songs and each story is like a little play. These four singers are up to the singing and the acting to make the evening a very worthwhile experience.
Of course, the Francophile “Friends” of the title are no slouches either in that department. We have Sondheim’s “Ah, Paris!” From Follies – Kern and Hammerstein’s “The Last Time I Saw Paris” – and Lerner and Lowe’s “ParisRENDEZVOUS is a show to be shared with a loved one. A show to be savored over a glass of fine red wine, which is readily available. is Paris Again”. I would have preferred “Gigi” but I won’t quibble. I loved every song.
Rendezvous - An Evening with Edith, Jacques, Charles & Friends
By Peter Leavy
So that there''s no question about this show, the Edith, Jacques & Charles named in the subtitle refer to Piaf, Brel & Aznavour - an undeniably attractive group. And, speaking of undeniably attractive, the four performers who present this evening of songs - Greg Purnhagen, Brenda Bush, Philip Anderson & Carmen Lamar - are personable, professional & praiseworthy. The foursome dishes up a tasty plateful with engaging voices, appropriate theatricality & panache.
To its Metropolitan Room audience, RENDEZVOUS served a musical repast of songs popularized by the European composer/performers. The opening bars of most were almost instantly recognizable, including "I Love Paris," "If You Loved Me," "If We Only Have Love" & "Je Ne Regrette Rien." There were also a few carefully selected side dishes by Americans Jerome Kern, Oscar Hammerstein II, Cole Porter & the Bergmans with Michel Legrand.
If the familiar tunes were presented by a single vocalist, the result might have been overload. With the four alternating & occasionally dueting at the microphone, reminiscent of the format of Jacques Brel is Alive & Well and Living in Paris, it provided a satisfactorily refreshing variety, as well as an auspicious crowd-pleaser for a room full of Francophiles. The production was produced & directed by Terry Moyer. D. Jay Bradley was musical director with Tom Hubbard on bass. Michael Barbieri provided tasteful lighting and sound direction.
RENDEZVOUS: An Evening with Edith, Jacques, Charles & Friends will move uptown for performances at Feinstein''s at the Regency on June 11th & June 18th.