Last night was the Irish Repertory Theatre’s annual gala. This year’s theme, Sondheim at Seven! For any theatre lover, this concert was absolutely thrilling! After thank yous and annual awards, Angela Lansbury walked onto the stage to tell the audience that she believes that without Stephen Sondheim, there would be no musicals for Angela Lansbury.
As the concert began, the orchestra and chorus opened with a medley of Sondheim to get everyone excited for the next 90 minutes. Following this incredible opening, Howard McGillin walked on stage to sing “Everybody Says Don’t” from Anyone Can Whistle in one of the best renditions of the song I have ever heard!
After Howard McGillin, Ciaran Sheehan came on stage and sang a gorgeous rendition of “Johanna” from Sweeney Todd. As the night went on, we had incredible performances by Melissa Errico, Malcolm Gets, Ryan Silverman, and Danielle Ferland. The night hit one of its highs when Jeremy Jordan came on and sang “Maria” from West Side Story, and boy was that the most beautiful sound I’ve ever heard.
Following that, Mark Evans and Ryan Silverman sang an all star rendition of “Agony” from Into The Woods and had the audience in the palm of their hands. After that, they went into a few songs from Follies starting with a wonderful performance of “I’m Still Here” sung by Donna Kane, A master class performance by Rebecca Luker singing “In Buddy’s Eyes”, and finally, an incredible performance by Michael Cerveris singing “The Road You Didn’t Take”.
After Follies, Nancy Anderson, the current understudy for Glenn Close in Sunset Boulevard, proved exactly why she is the best person to understudy someone with enormous talent, and it’s that she has great comedic chops and talent herself!
The highlight of the night for me, was when Len Cariou came out and sang a mashup of “Now” from A Little Night Music and “Pretty Women” from Sweeney Todd. Even though his voice isn’t what it used to be, his ability to perform these songs still never ceases to amaze. Following Len, Ken Jennings, the original Tobias in Sweeney Todd, came on stage. He pointed to Angela Lansbury in the audience and said “This one is for you darling” and opened up with the lyrics “Nothing’s Gonna Hurt You… Not while I’m around…” and then stopped. He looked at the audience and said “You know, the song is Nothing’s Gonna Harm You, I should know that, let’s restart!” After the audience finished laughing, he sang a gorgeous rendition of “Not While I’m Around”. To finish the night, Max Von Essen sang “Being Alive” from Company and Melissa Errico sang “Send In The Clowns” from A Little Night Music. Finally, the chorus sang Sunday from Sunday in the Park with George and the concert was over.
The performances of the night were all top notch. My one and only complaint was the audience. This may have been the rudest audience I have ever seen. The person sitting diagonally from me was taking photos all night. As if that wasn’t enough, the person behind me, was singing along to half of the songs! Don’t even get me started on the amount of times a flash photo were taken or a phone rang.
On the way out, I decided to wait a few minutes to walk down towards the subway for the crowd to clear, and I am very glad I did. I caught Len Cariou and Ken Jennings on the way out of the theatre. I had a chance to talk about Sweeney Todd with the two of them. Len Cariou is one of the men that have inspired my love for theatre, and it was truly an honor to meet him. Finally, when we were ready to leave, we passed Jeremy Jordan on the sidewalk and had a nice chat about his career and his current hit TV show Supergirl.
All in all, with the exception of the audience, the gala was very worth the price of admission. I encourage everyone to check out their incredible productions and keep an eye out for tickets to next season’s gala!
A college student that sees many shows annually.