With Lyric Theatre celebrating its golden anniversary this year, it marks the occasion by looking back with the musical revue Some Enchanted Evening, a compilation of more than 50 songs from Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II musicals.
The Rodgers and Hammerstein link bears historical significance: Lyric’s first show, in 1963, was Oklahoma!
When Some Enchanted Evening begins, you may think you’ve stumbled into a rehearsal. The house lights are up, and the production stage manager gives the cast direction from stage right. The actor/singers wear street clothes, and the two grand pianos are covered in those blankets movers use to protect furniture.
Thankfully, they soon dispense with this affectation, and we’re off on a perfunctory march through the R&H songbook.
The duo’s place in the pantheon of musical theater is unquestioned. The only question for Jeffrey B. Moss, the show’s compiler, was what to include.
You aren’t in for a lot of surprises.
The cast runs through the familiar standards “It Might as Well Be Spring” from State Fair, “There Is Nothin’ Like a Dame” from South Pacific and the title song from Oklahoma!
The list goes on. But it’s nice to hear the occasional obscurity, such as “In My Own Little Corner” from Cinderella or “The Gentleman Is a Dope” from Allegro.
Ashley Wells directs an attractive, youthful cast who have pleasant, if not overpowering voices, including Jamie Buxton (pictured), Dallas Lish, Heather Geery, Ethan Spell and Melissa Griffith.
The production sets modest goals and achieves them. Brian T. Hamilton and Mary Brozina are top-notch at the pianos. Lee MacIntosh’s colorful set design is respectable.
The two chandeliers hanging over the audience may be a nod to the corporate titans and society matrons who founded the company. Some of Matthew Sipress’ choreography would have looked corny even in 1963.
At the reviewed performance, Lyric veterans Jane Hall and Charlotte Franklin made cameos by telling jokes, reminiscing and singing a song together. Lyric promises other company alumni will appear at each performance.
It’s fine; you only have a 50th anniversary once.
One wonders what Lyric’s founders would think of the company now.
Today, Lyric is doing its best work ever, and the nifty Plaza Theatre is one of the best things to happen to the city in decades.