“If you’re finding it a little challenging navigating the current waters of life in our beloved USA, well…” Christine Andreas has created a show intended to “encourage and buoy” despite daily onslaught of bad news. The semi-autobiographical evening predominantly features love songs that seem to say this, at least, might still be possible – – soft entry into the fray. Andreas is in fine voice, that glorious vibrato ever finessed to suit lyrical intention.
“Laughing Matters” (Dick Gallagher/Mark Waldrop- When Pigs Fly), tackles the issue with urbane verve: Live at five and CNN/Keep us all abreast/Of breaking stories that can tend/To make us anxious and depressed…“I’m feeling better. I think humor’s helping… Do you know romance is the biggest energy system in our culture? We put more energy into it than anything else.” That is an interesting premise.
The tandem “My Romance” and “Falling in Love with Love” (Richard Rodgers/Lorenz Hart) showcases dynamic control. An elegant column of unadorned black, Andreas’ bearing epitomizes the quality of persuasive, unfussy performance. Even the darkly satirical “Keep My Love Alive” (Richard Rodgers/Lorenz Hart-A Connecticut Yankee) never goes over the top despite allowing the “broad” to come out and play and a seriously operatic ending.
Referring to her beloved, alcoholic “daddy”, Andreas tells us that Amanda McBroom wrote “Erroll Flynn” about her own alcoholic father. The splendid, country-flavored story-song speaks of a man who spent his life as a frustrated Hollywood C actor: …disappointment and bourbon are hard on the heart. Impeccable enunciation makes dropped g’s sound credible.The song emerges wistful, touching.
Aptly disquieting, “Take Care of This House” (Alan Jay Lerner/Leonard Bernstein-100 Pennsylvania Avenue) references the White House. This might land better were the audience told its subject before, not after. The beautifully interpreted “How Are Things in Glocca Morra?,” replete with Irish lilt, would seem more fitting with allusion to immigrants/refugees. (Burton Lane/EY Yip Harburg- Finian’s Rainbow)
Guest Marco Romano (first time in New York) introduces a song from Martin Silvestri’s in-development musical “Casanova.” Arrested for affront to religion and common decency, the protagonist was (in truth) the only prisoner to ever escape “The Leads” on the top floor of the Doge’s palace in Venice. At last in open air, Casanova sings, realizing he must flee his city.
Romano’s soaring tenor is resigned, bereft, determined. Just as I’m reminded of Rossano Brazzi, Andreas begins “Some Enchanted Evening” from the back of the club. (Richard Rodgers/Oscar Hammerstein II- sung by planter Emile de Becque as played by Brazzi in the film South Pacific.) She wends her way to the stage where Romano meets her with “Younger Than Springtime” in a well woven duet.
Two personal choices include the emotional “Someone Special” (Martin Silvestri/ Joel Higgins) written for son Matt and “Grow Old Along With Me” (John Lennon) in tender duet with husband/MD/pianist, Silvestri.
Tonight’s title song, Billy Joel’s “And So It Goes” begins a capella. Andreas palpably mines melancholy. She’s earnest, fatigued, volubly understated: So I would choose to be with you/That’s if the choice were mine to make/But you can make decisions too/And you can have this heart to break…One might as easily apply these feelings to our dysfunctional democracy as to a relationship between individuals.
“What a Wonderful World” (George David Weiss/Bob Thiele) and “If I Ruled the World” (Leslie Bricusse/Cyril Ornadel) coax the glass half full approach to life. Tonight they sound courageous.
The show closes with Andreas and Romano unfurling a potent, bilingual rendition of “The Prayer” (David Foster/Carol Bayer Sager; Alberto Testa/ Tony Resta–Quest for Camelot). Two artists in sync, expansively raise voices to the firmament.
Photos: Maryann Lopinto
Christine Andreas: And So It Goes…
Martin Slvestri- MD/Piano
January 30, 2020