Lovin' Bloom by Peter Filichia –

Before you make theatre plans, let me make them for you.

Tell everyone you know to get to The Triad on W. 72nd St. by 7pm….okay, 7:15. No show ever starts on time… ever… but, just in case this one does, you don’t want to miss the nifty opening number, do you?

For that matter, you’re not going to want to miss any of the songs in this felicitous, exciting, charming, melodious and thought-provoking revue. The songwriter is Charles Bloom and his show is called GOING THRU A STAGE! Both the revue and the title-song showed plenty of imagination and wordplay. Arthur Laurents used to praise Stephen Sondheim by saying his songs were little one-act plays. The same can be said of Charles Bloom.

Director, Donald Brenner, showed off the stellar cast to great advantage with his solid guidance. Claybourne Elder takes on the likes of Billie Holliday and Bessie Smith when he asks the musical question, “WHY CAN’T A MAN SING THE BLUES”? Then, there was “HIS OWN MAN”, which may be the most beautiful song that New York has heard this year and Julie Reyburn made it soar.

Christy Faber asked Matt Castle to, “CALL ME WHEN YOU’RE SINGLE.” Sounds like a laff-riot, right? Ah, but Mr. Bloom knows that when a woman is saying this to a married man, there’s always some pain involved, So, he wrote a wistful ballad instead…. …or so it seemed. As time goes by, the sad absurdity of the situation revealed plenty of comic overtones, undertones and emotional gallstones.

The appealing and strong-voiced Josh Young sang about how to “CHANGE THE WORLD” and the ever-enchanting Mara Davi made many fine perceptions in “THIS LAKE.” Remember Loni Ackerman? She took time off to raise her sons. Well, she’s back singing “BACK,” a song about returning to the stage. The way she sang it, you’ll be convinced that Loni’ll never go away again.

But, Bloom didn’t write all the music. In two instances, he relied on Cole Porter and Leonard Bernstein to provide the melodies. In the first, Bloom refit a Kiss Me, Kate classic and titled it “THE BARITONE’S COMPLAINT.” The baritone in question (no less than Aaron Lazar) lamented, “Where are the voices like Gordon MacRae”? instead of the voices that “rant in Rent.” Lazar provided a bravura showcase both for the song and himself. He should use this as an audition piece from now on.

“BELTERS” is, in part, set to Bernstein’s most difficult musical theater song, “GLITTER AND BE GAY” and Ashley Fox Linton was up to the standards that Barbara Cook, Maureen Brennan and Harolyn Blackwell set before her.

…and if all this isn’t enough, Michael Lavine, that terrific tickler of the ivories, is on-hand to sing a song called “OUT HERE” which is about not tickling the ivories. Lavine, alone, is worth the price of admission but, no matter where you look, you’ll find a performer or a song by Charles Bloom that’s worth remembering. Enough reading! Now, go see GOING THRU A STAGE! and e-mail me your thank-you notes.

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