Cherry Grove Loves “I
Love New York” – by Sherri Rase
Project of Cherry Grove’s Summer Season is in full effect. The season’s second show, John DeMarco’s “I Love New York” opened Saturday, June 21 to
raves from the community.
fast-paced revue covers more than a century of music and showcases some of
Cherry Grove’s best loved and fresh talent as well as introducing us to some
new New York cabaret artists to watch.
opens with three sailors, George McGarvey, James Belzer and James Duus, singing
“New York New York” and inquiring to local denizen Denise Harbin which show to see, all under the watchful eye of Sally Ann Piacentino. Denise, a businessman, of course says “42nd Street” and the
fun begins as the entire cast becomes a horde of tuxedo clad dancing chorines
a medley of New York hits by the incomparable Rose Levine, a Fire Island
favorite. Rose will also be
appearing in “Curtain Up” August 2nd…so save the date!
Zac Mordechai and Queen Lola are a crack up in “Latin from
Manhattan” where a girl isn’t always what she seems, nor is a boy. Reinforcing that is Lola’s tour de
farce performance of “I Feel Pretty”, a quintessential West Side favorite.
You’ll – um – “reflect” on it for some time!
James Duus has quite a bit to do in this show, but in “Give My
Regards to Broadway” he shows off one of his newest talents – tap
dancing! Is there nothing he can’t
Perez is noted for his love of wry situations and his song “I’m Glad I Live in
NY” is no exception. This new
song, almost alone among the myriad of standard gems in this show, gives so
many reasons why New York is tops!
My Street” is Freedner Twins as Vaudeville – if
you’ve never seen Ruth and Susan together – wowza! You can tell ‘em apart if you know ‘em,
otherwise good luck! This fast
patter song is perfect for these New York natives, who know well of what they
Birth of Venus, Dale Lally emerges as a newly arrived
bright-eyed hopeful just in from the provinces in his energetic “Not for the
Life of Me”. Tailor-made the song
seems for him, and his dulcet voice, wide smile and big blue eyes make one heckuva summer bouquet! Dale’s here to stay!
songs are so strongly associated with certain performers that it takes a
special soul to make that song her own. Jacqueline Presti is that person – her rendition of “Broadway Baby”, done as the perennial ingenue, New York-style, has a great voice, comic poise and
a sense of humor. All combine in
this amazing performance.
closes with the quintessential disco song – “Fire Island” by the Village
People. Sally Ann Piacentino leads the pack as the sexy Cop who liberally
dispenses tickets to the audience. Jason Versace as the Construction Worker and Dale Lally as the Cowboy are sexy go-go boys gyrating on elevated stages while Leatherman
Arthur Cohen (!) cruises the Cop. There’s a surprise cameo by musical director Chris Vassiliades as a Meat Rack denizen who is light on his feet and daring with his towel!
an audible intake of breath at the beginning of Act II when the entire cast
shows off their finest togs in “Easter Bonnet”. A series of beautiful moving pictures, orchestrated by
choreographer George McGarvey, best displayed the
handsome “men” and beautiful “ladies” in the Cherry Grove Easter Parade,
complete with Peeps!
the hardest working men in Cherry Grove Show Biz,
Chris Vassiliades in showcased in his own arrangement
of “Autumn In New York”. Listen
for his melodic mastery and virtuoso technique. You’ll want his autograph (or more!) after the show.
coming weekend’s shows will feature Demi Tasse in “You Gotta Work
It”! Don’t miss it!
Zac Mordechai returns with a soulful “Mona Lisa and Mad
Hatters”. A comic genius and a
vocal one as well, you’ll be seeing more of him, and searching for where he’ll
George McGarvey returns to the stage, his lyric baritone painting
tone pictures in the classic “Manhattan”. An iconic set frames this song to perfection.
back to the golden days of Doo-Wop, Susan Freedner is
the leader of a pack that includes her sister Ruth, Denise Harbin, Sherri Rase and Sally Ann Piacentino crooning of their “Coney Island Baby” with moves and looks that even Fonzie thinks is cool! You’ll be tapping your foot and thinking of your own summers
on the “blanket of love”….
the newest faces in Cherry Grove theatre are Alexandra and Zachary
Kelly-Spadafino. These little
scene-stealers are children of Thespians Laura Spadafino and Lana Kelly, who
are no strangers to the Community House stage, and the apples don’t fall far
from the tree. Alex and Zach
introduce Lana’s bravura “Native New Yorker”. In addition, dancers Bob Verbrugge,
Jacqueline Presti and Dale Lally show what it means to live Disco!
James Duus, the Energizer Bunny of Cherry Grove, stops a group of
New Yorkers bent on leaving with the classic “New York My Home”. James involves the audience and
inspires his fellow singers to greater heights.
George McGarvey returns with Laura Spadafino and Alex and Zach with the classic “East Side West Side”. The audience feels like they want to
sing along, and they’re welcome to!
Sherri Rase sings “Real New Yorker”, an original cabaret song that
takes you on a peripatetic tour of all the wonderful things that New York is to
us. This work will bring you back
to when you knew that you were finally where you belong.
State of Mind” and “New York New York” were high on the hit parade, especially
when Rose Levine is at the wheel! Nobody brings these songs to life like the Rose of Cherry Grove!
number of Act II is the song that sums New York up for a lot of us –
“NYC” from “Annie”. James Duus outlines the ups and downs that make us love New York,
with Sherri Rase providing the “grace” notes. Curtis Strohl makes a strong debut in a way that you won’t soon forget!
you Arthur??? Couldn’t keep him backstage forever
like Zachary, a random open mike night recruit by John De Marco. took right to it.
subway was never like this……….(one can wish)
the well-earned bows the cast takes at the end of the show, the audience is
invited to “start spreading the news” and join in singing “New York New
York”. Judging from the buzz on
the boards this past Sunday, the audience took this to heart. “I Love New York” was a must-see frothy
summer fun with two shows.
Bruce=Michael Gelbert where indicated, otherwise by
Just Lorraine, prints available at PhotoCGFD@aol.com