With each of these brief shows, Ann Kittredge, Christopher Denny, and Matt Berman push the envelope for what’s possible when vocalists and musicians perform from different locations. Presentations are powered by Jam Kazam at which Denny and Berman are experts. Anyone in the business should explore the system for in sync presentations, both live, and according to Denny, sharp enough to record.
Tonight, Kittredge opens the show with the intro of 1913’s “You Made Me Love You” (James V. Monaco/Joseph McCarthy), segueing into “If I Had a Talking Picture of You” (Ray Henderson/ B.G. DeSylva/Lew Brown). The vocalist seamlessly slips from tender longing to buoyant flirt, maintaining credibility.
Amiable chat with collaborators leads us to Christopher Plummer’s recent death, Kittredge’s crush on the actor, and that, at her wedding, she danced with her brother to the song “Edelweiss” from The Sound of Music. She, Steve Ross, and Christopher Denny then offer one of the most beautiful renditions I’ve heard. Instead of something that’s become corny, we hear lovely, sad, lilting remembrance. A skilled, multi-layered, two-piano instrumental is delicious.
“Your talk made me want to get married,” Ross quips. “Everything’s very free these days.” The artist then performs “Once Upon a Time” (Charles Strouse/Lee Adams). No bells or whistles, only truth. His capacity to be simply heartbreaking never ceases to amaze.
“I want to talk a little about a redoubtable stenographer, Ethel Agnes Zimmerman,” Ross says, referring to Ethel Merman. “The undisputed queen of Broadway starred in 15 musicals. She was always determined, but some of her shows didn’t have a strong book. 1941’s Something for The Boys had a sub plot wherein the fillings in her dental work intercepted radio access. I’m not making this up.”
Ross regales us with the convoluted, screwball plot of Du Barry Was a Lady (Cole Porter) from which Ross and Kittredge duet “But in The Morning, No.”
SHE: Are you fond of riding, Dear? Kindly tell me, if so
HE: Yes, I’m fond of riding, Dear, But in the morning, no
SHE: Are you good at shooting, Dear? Kindly tell me, if so
HE: Yes, I’m good at shooting, Dear But in the morning, no
The song is filled with double entendre which can fall flat in the wrong hands. Not here! Ross is insouciant, Kittredge selectively exaggerated. It’s understated, musically copacetic, and theatrically delightful.
Kittredge and Ross kid about doing a show together perhaps called, A Night of Naughty. I second the idea.
Ann closes tonight with “Delishious” by George and Ira Gershwin. And it is.
The next Virtual Shorts is Friday, March 12, at 5 p.m. with bass player Mary Ann McSweeney
Then March 26, at 5 p.m., with vocalist LaTanya Hall. I recommend the series.