THE ARTS ETC

Allison in Concert

March 9 & 10, 2012 at the Drama Studio

Allison Reardon, soloist

Steve Hays, piano

Reviewed by Donna Bailey-Thompson

MARCH 10, 2012 PERFORMANCE


Selecting classic show tunes from “the great American songbook”, a poised and merry Minnechaug Regional High School senior, Allison Reardon, made her singing debut at the Drama Studio, her home-away-from-home for nine years, thriving as a student of theater and music.

When the lights dimmed, accompanist Steve Hayes took his place at the piano and played a selection of medleys. All seats in the tiered three-quarter round theater were filled. A mixed bouquet of spring flowers at the piano were the only touches of multiple color – until a smiling Ms. Reardon walked from the wings onto the stage, wearing an electric blue two-piece dress that provided a backdrop for her stunning crowning glory – an abundant waterfall of golden curls falling every which way.

She opened the concert with the Harold Arlen, Johnny Mercer statement, “I’m going to love you, like nobody’s loved you, come rain or come shine,” singing softly, explicitly, imparting intimacy and a declaration of incontestable love. Gradually, she increased the volume, releasing more passion, underscoring her commitment, giving her pitch-perfect voice license to sing – really sing.

To borrow a compliment from the vintage age represented throughout the concert, Ms. Reardon is a bonafide canary.

As the upbeat dame in “The Lady is a Tramp,” Ms. Reardon took no prisoners. With Adelaide’s Lament from Guys and Dolls – the perennial head cold – she demonstrated her flare for comedic timing: she was nothing short of terrific. For “How About Me” she had no trouble making the emotional shift of a jilted girlfriend who without a support group, has to rely on her hurting self to work her way through the pain of loss, a poignant song by Irving Berlin written with simple, direct language, and respectfully sung.

With The Trolley Song, made famous by Judy Garland in Meet Me In St. Louis, Ms. Reardon stepped onto that trolley fully confident. Her sense of fun could not be smothered: she freed her knees to bounce as if actually riding on a trolley.

For the songsmiths, Caesar Petrillo and Edward Ross, she transformed their dumb song into a riotous “Jim”, milking every opportunity to squeeze out a laugh, proving that the timing she displayed earlier as Adelaide was for real. This feat reminded me of a theater director’s amazement of how well comedienne Carol Burnett could sing.

The gifted songwriting trio of Jule Styne, Betty Comden and Adolph Green wrote a novelty song for Two On The Aisle entitled “If You Hadn’t (But You Did)” which did not daunt Ms. Reardon who ripped through it at warp speed. If sung barely a tad slower, chances are all the lyrics could be understood.

“The Party’s Over” and “I’m Going Back To Where I Can Be Me” brought the audience to their feet. Allison Reardon is an accomplished singer who rings emotional connection out of different types of songs by tempering her ego. She is blessed with a solid foundation that reflects the instruction and guidance of her teacher, Steve Hayes, founder of The Drama Studio.

There was one curtain call. Daughter Allison announced, “Dad, this is for you,” and with her eyes dancing, she sang the song every father wants to have spring from his gorgeous daughter’s lips – Not!

"Where The Boys Are"

Lyrics by Connie Francis

Where the boys are, someone waits for me
A smilin' face, a warm embrace, two arms to hold me tenderly
Where the boys are, my true love will be
He's walkin' down some street in town and I know he's lookin' there for me

In the crowd of a million people I'll find my valentine
And then I'll climb to the highest steeple and tell the world he's mine

Till he holds me I wait impatiently
Where the boys are, where the boys are
Where the boys are, someone waits for me

Till he holds me I wait impatiently
Where the boys are, where the boys are
Where the boys are, someone waits for me

 

PROGRAM

Part One

Come Rain or Come Shine

from St Louis Woman

Harold Arlen, Johnny Mercer

The Lady is a Tramp

from Babes in Arms

Richard Rodgers, Lorenz Hart

This Lonely Road

Zina Goldrich, Marcy Heisler

Adelaide's Lament

from Guys and Dolls

Frank Loesser

How About Me?

Irving Berlin

Sons Of

Jacques Brel

The Trolley Song

from Meet Me In St. Louis

Hugh Martin, Ralph Blane

The Music that Makes Me Dance

from Funny Girl

Jule Styne, Bob Merrill

Part Two

Cornet Man

from Funny Girl

Jule Styne, Bob Merrill

Jim

Caesar Petrillo, Edward Ross

Any Place I Hang My Hat

from St. Louis Woman

Harold Arlen, Johnny Mercer

If You Hadn't (But You Did)

Jule Styne, Betty Comden and Adolph Green

I Still Believe in You

from Simple Simon

Richard Rodgers, Lorenz Hart

Medley from Bells are Ringing

The Party's Over

I'm Going Back

Jule, Betty Comden and Adolph Green




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