To sum it up in a single word, Sunday's tribute concert to Jerry Herman (benefitting Crusaid) was...well...nice.
The songs were nice, traditional Broadway songs that made their composer a legend for a reason. Hearing two new songs from Jerry Herman's current work in progress was extremely nice. The four main singers (Melissa Errico, Sal Viviano, Ron Raines, Klea Blackhurst) were nice and well chosen, if not awe-inspiring, and our host for the evening, Ms. Angela Lansbury herself, exudes niceness and charm (and looked far better than she had when the RZ saw her in Deuce last summer). It was nice to hear the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (conducted by Don Pippin, original conductor from Mame) playing these songs as they were meant to be, without relying on a pair of synths and sounding properly lush. The Capital Voices were nice as backing singers, though they overpowered the lead at times. The lighting wasn't so nice, nor were the sound flaws, but these events have limited time in the venue and are to be expected.
Was it disappointing that Jerry Herman himself (unfortunately ill) and Barbara Cook couldn't make it as advertised? A bit. And while this won't go on the RZ's list of all-time memorable theatre evenings (like the Library of Congress's 2006 tribute to Jonathan Larson was), he certainly felt he got his money's worth, and was disappointed at the number of empty seats in the upper circle (he was able to move from rear house on the side aisle to not-as-rear house dead centre with a half-empty row in front of him) as well as on the other levels.
Where: London Palladium
When: One-off. 4 May 08.
How Much: £15-£175
Concessions: None. Charity gig.
RZ Unofficial "Worth Paying": Whatever you feel a worthy donation to a good cause is.
RZ Other Notes: Angela Lansbury may be in her 80's, but she still justifies any ticket price and sparkles more onstage than most of the young thangs the crowds fawn over these days and. Eden Espi-who?