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Bond composer, Marvin Hamlisch concert reviewed

21-Mar-2011 • Bond News

Those who left Marvin Hamlisch’s Palladium concert last night (presumably to beat the traffic exiting from the parking garage) after what they thought was his final number, were no doubt very disappointed today to learn that Michael Feinstein made a surprise appearance last night -- writes the Examiner

As Hamlisch sat down at the piano to perform an encore number, there was a gasp and whispers of “It's Michael!” throughout the hall as Feinstein entered the stage to join his friend and colleague for some piano duets and a song.

After the thunderous applause and gleeful cheers died down, Hamlisch, a consummate jokester, made a request to the audience. “If you know any of those people who left, make sure you call them and let them know what they missed,” he chortled.

It was a moment that reinforced what a coup it was for the Palladium to appoint Feinstein to his position as Artistic Director of Carmel’s Center for the Performing Arts. Were he not, it’s unlikely that this audience would have been treated to such a rare moment from two of the most renowned entertainers in the world.

Ultimately, Feinstein’s gesture no doubt reminded any prospective donors or subscribers present just how fortunate the community is to have him associated with Central Indiana’s newest cultural attraction.

And speaking of cultural attractions, Hamlisch has certainly been popular in these parts. Making his third recent appearance (last year he performed at both the Hilbert Circle Theatre and Symphony on the Prairie with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra) in this area, the multi talented, multi award winner, regaled the Palladium crowd with both his music and jovial personality.

Performing many of his signature tunes from Broadway shows and films, the witty Hamlisch also shared humorous stories & anecdotes and bantered playfully with the audience during his two hour concert. Joining him for several songs was an another unannounced guest---Broadway, cabaret and recording artist, Anne Runolfsson,

It was a program especially well suited for last night’s Palladium audience to experience the hall’s highly touted acoustics which, based on what was heard last night, produced sounds that were crisp and concise.

Showcasing his virtuosity as a pianist, Hamlisch commenced the concert with a medley of Cole Porter’s songs including “Night And Day,” “I’ve Get a Kick out of You,” and “It’s All Right With Me.”

Other highlights during Act 1 were Hamlisch’s own compositions which included the themes from The Swimmer and The Sting, and “Nobody Does It Better;” the theme song from the 1977 James Bond movie The Spy Who Loved Me, a tune made famous by Carly Simon.

Later in the act, the strikingly attractive Runolfsson manifested substantial vocal power and range while singing “Johnny One Note,” with “gusto “ (one of the song’s lyrics) and holding the song’s last note for what seemed like an eternity.

After instructing the audience on how song lyrics and music are often inspired by titles, Hamlisch asked for title suggestions which were then yelled out from the house. Those offered were “Last Saturday Night,” and “One Rose, Two Hearts and One Infinite Love.” Improvising both music and lyrics on the spot Hamlisch delighted the crowd with the resulting schmaltzy sounding love ballad comprised of lyrics taken from the suggested titles.

Opening Act II with “Looking Through The Eyes of Love,” a poignant theme song he composed for the 978 film Ice Castles, Hamlisch, followed with a medley of show tunes which included, “Someone To Watch Over Me,” “Somewhere,” and “Send In The Clowns.”

Making her second appearance in the show and once displaying a formidable vocal and dramatic presence was Runolfsson, who sang a thoroughly moving rendition of “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” from Carousel.

Concluding the concert, Hamlisch played what he called the “overture” for what is arguably, his most famous work, A Chorus Line. Considering that the show didn’t actually feature an overture, Hamlisch played a medley of songs from the 1975 Broadway hit for which he won both the Tony Award and the Pulitzer Prize in 1976.

After leaving the stage to a standing ovation, Hamlisch returned for what became his surprise set with Feinstein. The two engaged in some clever banter (some of it having to do with the pronunciation of “Carmel”) after which Hamlisch complimented Feinstein on his efforts in preserving the Great American Songbook; his role as Artistic Director of the Center; and the quality of the venue itself; a second grand piano was rolled out onto the stage. Together, Feinstein and Hamlisch then played lively and animated renditions of “Tea For Two,” and “Anything Goes.”

With the audience basking in the glow of a moment none of them could have ever predicted, the show ended with Feinstein singing and Hamlisch playing his iconic theme for the 1973 film, The Way We Were.

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