CLT show flows seamlessly through solos, duets and other musical combos

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 AUBURN — The wonderful tunes of Rodgers and Hammerstein are nonstop in Community Little Theatre’s current production of “It’s a Grand Night for Singing.”

A talented five-member cast gives the audience a delightful mix of humor and romance in this updated take on the Rodgers and Hammerstein songbook. The revue has no dialogue and no obvious plot, yet the imaginative delivery in solo numbers, duets, trios and full-cast presentations invites the listener to create a story as the show moves along.

“It’s a Grand Night for Singing” is the perfect vehicle to introduce two newcomers to the CLT stage. Caroline Young Coffin and Alicia Culleton bring beautiful vocal talent to the show, and they also exhibit skill for humor and sensitivity in their performances.

Michael Litchfield, Paul G. Caron and Eileen Messina are CLT veterans who add a special glow to the show.

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Not seen on stage, but providing an excellent and essential dimension to the production is the six-piece orchestra led by Rebecca Caron. The arrangements are rich and full, performed well and balanced just right for the vocalists.

Director David Lock makes the action flow seamlessly from one song to another. There’s a sense of continuity throughout as the lyrics and stage action hint at an unspoken theme of young love, indecision, finding romance and ultimately marriage and parenthood.

Lock and Caron shared music director duties. Caron wrote the score and lyrics for “Lewiston: A New Home” in 1996, and he has performed internationally for many years.

Highlights abound.

Caron offers a rollicking rendition of “Honey Bun” from “South Pacific.” The number builds as he creates a fun-filled imaginary band with the cast. He also shines in “Oh What A Beautiful Morning” from “Oklahoma!” and “My Little Girl” from “Carousel.”

Litchfield’s entertaining numbers include “Surrey with the Fringe on Top” from “Oklahoma!” and “Maria,” the number from “The Sound of Music” which normally is sung by a choir of nuns. He also solos on “Love, Look Away,” a wistful ballad from “Flower Drum Song.”

Coffin’s lovely soprano voice is featured in “If I Loved You” from “Carousel.” She also does a lighthearted rendition of “I Cain’t Say No” from “Oklahoma!”

Messina’s fine voice is showcased in her solo numbers, “A Wondeful Guy” from “South Pacific,” “The Gentleman Is a Dope” from “Allegro,” and “A Hundred Million Miracles” from “Flower Drum Song.

Culleton, who is new to CLT and has impressive stage and opera credentials, delivers beautiful renditions of “Something Wonderful” from “The King and I,” “So Far” from “Allegro” and “It Might As Well Be Spring” from “State Fair.”

There are many more songs that pair each singer with the others. Some songs are familiar favorites; others are seldom-heard numbers from lesser-known Rodgers and Hammerstein shows.

Coffin and Culleton have fun with “Stepsisters’ Lament” from “Cinderella.” Caron and Litchfield ham it up with Coffin and Culleton in “Don’t Marry Me” from “Flower Drum Song.”

“It’s a Grand Night for Singing” is much more than a concert of Rodgers and Hammerstein songs. The music is supported with meaningful stage action.

Ellen Hodgkin was responsible for the simple but appropriate set décor and the elegant costuming. Simple but effective choreography is by Mariah Perry.

Remaining shows

WHAT: “It’s a Grand Night for Singing”

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 18; 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, March 19-20; and 2 p.m. Sunday, March 21.

TICKETS: call 783-0958 or visit www.laclt.com

WHERE: Great Falls Arts Center, 30 Academy St., Auburn

WHO: Lewiston-Auburn Community Little Theatre

The five cast members in Lewiston-Auburn Community Little Theatre’s production of “A Grand Night for Singing” are, from left, Michael Litchfield, Alicia Culleton, Paul Caron, Eileen Messina and Caroline Young Coffin.

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