Cheek to Cheek: Irving Berlin in Hollywood

L-R Darien Crago, Danny Gardner, Jeremy Benton, Darrell T. Joe, Kaitlyn Davidson Photo Credit: Carol Rosegg
L-R Darien Crago, Danny Gardner, Jeremy Benton, Darrell T. Joe, Kaitlyn Davidson Photo Credit: Carol Rosegg
Rating
4.5/5

Moments after entering the theater, it became obvious that the producers of Cheek to Cheek: Irving Berlin in Hollywood took great care and paid attention to detail. As the audience assembled, the sound system projected recordings of singers like Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney with songs like Irving Berlin’s “Easter Parade, “Snow,” and “Sisters.”

Irving Berlin by Pach Brothers Studio, c. 1911, gelatin silver print, from the National Portrait Gallery. Public Domain

Irving Berlin by Pach Brothers Studio, c. 1911, gelatin silver print, from the National Portrait Gallery. Public Domain

Two reminders immediately came to mind:  how Irving Berlin’s nostalgic, brilliant music can brighten the day of even the most sardonic or sad heart and Berlin’s significant and timeless musical contributions to the art of musical theater and film.

The program booklet was an object of pride, from its introductory comments from Producing Artistic Director Jim Morgan to the detailed listing of Berlin’s songs and their provenance. Initially veiled behind a scrim, the orchestra was set backstage akin to a band in a swing dance era dance hall.

Jeremy Benton, Darien Crago. Photo by Carol Rosegg

Jeremy Benton, Darien Crago. Photo by Carol Rosegg

Throughout the performance, the visual character of the splendid dance and song numbers were enriched by marvelous multi-media support. This multimedia and live performance combination capitalized fully on available technologies to provide a rich, multi-dimensional musical experience. Despite being set on an intimate stage space, the sophisticated dance sequences, costumes, singing, songs, and staging provided an almost cinematic experience.

L-R Darrell T. Joe, Kaitlyn Davidson, Danny Gardner, Darien Crago, Jeremy Benton, Melinda Porto in Cheek to Cheek. Photo by Carol Rosegg

L-R Darrell T. Joe, Kaitlyn Davidson, Danny Gardner, Darien Crago, Jeremy Benton, Melinda Porto in Cheek to Cheek. Photo by Carol Rosegg

The cast was draped in period clothing with accompanying coiffures. We experienced the life and career of Berlin through his music and dance, from his humble beginnings in Tin Pan Alley to Hollywood film and Broadway. The men were dapper, the ladies elegant; they were all beautiful, and together drew viewers into the time best befitting each song’s historical context. As we followed Berlin’s career, we heard charming anecdotes while reveling in the choreography, lighting, sound, costumes, dancing, singing, and orchestra — it was all as it should be.

Darrell T. Joe, Darien Crago, Kaitlyn Davidson, Jeremy Benton. Photo by Carol Rosegg

Darrell T. Joe, Darien Crago, Kaitlyn Davidson, Jeremy Benton. Photo by Carol Rosegg

This was a joyous evening of smiling and nostalgia with wonderful music, singing, and dancing. It’s a limited run, so hurry!

Runtime is about 90 minutes with no intermission.

Cheek to Cheek: Irving Berlin in Hollywood

Conceived, directed, and choreographed by four-time Tony Award nominee Randy Skinner

Cast

Jeremy Benton, Darien Crago, Kaitlyn Davidson,
Danny Gardner, Darrell T. Joe, Melinda Porto,
Corinne Munsch, Sean Quinn

Creative

Show book writer Barry Kleinbort, Scenic design by James Morgan, costume design by Nicole Wee, lighting design by Jason Kantrowitz, sound design by Julian Evans, vocal arrangements and orchestrations by Fred Lassen, and dance arrangements by Rob Berman. The production stage manager is Chris Steckel. The casting director is Michael Cassara, CSA.

The Orchestra

Music Director and Piano David Hancock Turner, Drum/Percussion Louis B. Crocco, Reed I Noelle Rueschman, Reed 2 Amy Griffiths, and on Bass Joseph Wallace.

St. Jeans

150 East 76th Street
New York NY 10021
212-935-5820

Readers may also enjoy our reviews of Oscar Hammerstein Solo Contest, The Life, Exception, and The Music Man.

Cheek to Cheek: Irving Berlin in Hollywood

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