Monday, June 8, 2009

CABARET review - A Fine Romance

David Engel and Tami Tappan Damiano premiered their original cabaret show A Fine Romance on Tony Award Sunday, June 7 at Sterling's Upstairs @ Vitello's. This evening was also in celebration of Sterling's 3rd anniversary.
Engel and Damiano have performed together countless times in musicals for Musical Theatre West including Crazy For You, Never Gonna Dance, The Full Monty, among many others. They are dynamite triple threats and so performing a mini musical on a smaller, more intimate stage allows them to dynamically exercise their acting and singing chops, but forces them to trim the dance numbers to a minimal number of steps. That's fine, as their playlet A Fine Romance about a young couple meeting, falling in love, getting married and then living and loving through a myriad of issues, told completely through song, was a glorious thrill. Damiano and Engel were both in top form.

She soared with "I Will Be Loved Tonight", Sondheim's brilliant monologue from Company "Not Getting Married Today", "Blues in the Night" and encore "The World Goes Round" topping Liza Minnelli's rendering on the Tony Award show.

Engel's finest moments came with "Where Is the Life That Late I Led" from Kiss Me Kate, "Me" and an absolutely beautiful and personal rendition of "My Foolish Heart".

Together they thrilled with "This Could Be the Start of Something Big", "Bli-Blip", "Baby It's Cold Outside" "All Of Me", "I Won't Dance", "Love Is In the Air" and the title tune "A Fine Romance". Musical director was the prolific Michael Paternostro, who even lifted his own fine voice in song during the Sondheim wedding number.

This was a thoroughly enjoyable way to welcome in the Tony Awards, cherishing two consummate LA performers that should be performing on Broadway again with the best of them. Damiano and Engel are stellar performers, not yet with Tony, but with several Ovation nominations and wins to their credit.

Congratulations as well to Michael Sterling for three terrifically successful years with Sterling's Upstairs @ Vitello's, the premiere supper club of Los Angeles.


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