February 19, 2005

'S Wonderful

Last night we went to UW to see 'S Wonderful, a new musical review of songs by those two powerhouse songwriters of the last century, Cole Porter and the team of George and Ira Gershwin. There's no dialogue (well, one two-word line hardly counts, does it?), but there's so much narrative content to these songs that director and vocal arranger Scott Hafso was able to assemble a melange of interlocking love stories that are so engaging we hardly noticed the lack of speaking parts. This is very much a play made up of well known songs, not (like some reviews I've seen) just an assemblage of pretty tunes.

But wow, what songs! There are 44 different songs in this 90-minute piece, and almost all of them were familiar, and the few that weren't were so catchy that I wonder why they're not better known. I can't think of anyone working today who's putting out so many memorable and charming melodies and lyrics.

The cast of eleven (6 women, 5 men) is almost entirely composed of members of the UW's Professional Actor Training Program, and every single one of them had a chance to shine in the production. They weren't all stellar singers (though many of them were!), but they all managed to portray winning and sympathetic characters through interpretation of simple lyric and melody. I have to admit to having developed a bit of a crush on every single one of them by the end of the show. And that crush was only enhanced by seeing them all in street clothes in a question and answer session following the performance.

The one member of the cast who is not a student is the piano player, Jose Gonzales, who was simply marvelous playing continuously throughout the 90 minute show in a dozen different styles and moods. He apparently has a jazz trio that plays occasionally at St. Clouds in Madrona. Might have to check that out.

Anyway, if it isn't obvious by now, the show completely lives up to its name. 'S wonderful! It's playing through the 27th.

Posted by jeffy at February 19, 2005 12:38 PM

Sounds great! If it were a little closer to the Silicon Valley...

Posted by: Katherine at February 21, 2005 03:00 PM