"Something Wonderful"… Is
"Something Wonderful: A Richard Rodgers Celebration in Song"
The Town Hall
123 West 43rd St
June 3, 2005
Reviewed by Paulanne Simmons, June 3, 2005
There's certainly nothing unusual about a tribute to Richard Rodgers.
Even before his death in 1979, the songs he wrote with his two
collaborators, Lorenz Hart and Oscar Hammerstein II, had become
mainstays in the American songbook. But there was definitely something
special in the wit and warmth of "Something Wonderful: a Richard
Rodgers Celebration in Song" at The Town Hall on June 3.
The musical revue was part of Town Halls' Not Just Jazz series. But the
show was not just music.
It was Heather Mac Rae remembering the filming of "Oklahoma!" and
"Carousel" - movies in which her father, Gordon Mac Rae, starred - and
informing the audience that when Mac Rae sang "my little girl…" she was
certain he was singing to her (of course, sister Meredith thought the
The show was also Mark Nadler sitting at the piano and playing "Shall
We Dance" while his feet tap danced, or his delightful commentary on
the sexiest moment in the history of musicals - when the King of Siam
(whom Nadler gives a Spanish accent because the only accents he claimed
he could reproduce were Spanish and Yiddish) puts his hand on Anna's
And the show was also its penultimate number when all the performers -
Nadler, Mac Rae, KT Sullivan and Craig Rubano - reminded the audience
that Rodgers and Hammerstein's message in "You've Got To Be Carefully
Taught" is just as meaningful today during the war in Iraq as it was
after World War II.
Founded over 80 years ago by The League for Political Education, Town
Hall represents something unique in New York City - a theater in the
heart of the glitziest, most commercial theater district in the world
that is dedicated to free speech, education, artistic excellent and the
simple art of the song.
With nothing more than Nadler's piano accompaniment, evening dress and
makeup, Nadler, Mac Rae, Rubano and Sullivan rocked the house with
their sheer joy in singing. They mixed sentimentality and
professionalism so smoothly that the performance seemed both artless
and filled with art at the same time.
What an enchanting evening! [Simmons]