CLT show’s upbeat with emphasis on music

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By David A. Sargent

Special to the Sun Journal

 AUBURN — It’s a pretty good bet that a lot of people who see “It’s a Grand Night for Singing” are going to go out singing or humming its wonderful tunes.

That’s what David Lock, director of the Community Little Theatre production opening Friday, March 12, is expecting.

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“It’s a delightful new take on the music of Rodgers and Hammerstein,” he said. Songs from many of the musical theater classics by that composer and lyricist have been woven into a revue with a cast of five. There are instantly familiar tunes like “Some Enchanted Evening,” but there’s also a wealth of excellent songs not heard much lately from shows like “Allegro,” “Flower Drum Song” and “Pipe Dream.”

William Bobbie revisited the rich collection of songs nearly 20 years ago and created a whole new musical.

“He did it with such flair,“ Lock said, adding that “It’s a Grand Night for Singing” has a plot, but the emphasis is on the music.

CLT veterans Paul G. Caron, James Litchfield and Eileen Messina return to the stage, with first-time CLT performances by Caroline Young Coffin and Alicia Culleton.

Lock explained that one song often leads right into another in medleys. It’s kind of a series of vignettes, he said.

The singers are not necessarily what would be expected by those who know the original shows. For instance, “Maria” from “The Sound of Music” is not sung by a group of nuns, but rather by a lovesick young man.

The chance to hear music from seldom-performed shows like “Me and Juliet” and “Allegro” are a special treat in this production, Lock said. There’s “So Far,” “The Gentleman Is a Dope,” “Love, Look Away” and “Wish Them Well.” Two of the songs from “Pipe Dream” are “The Man I Used To Be” and “All at Once, You Love Her.”

Lock emphasized that this show utilizes the original vocal arrangements from the 1994 Broadway productions. They are “deceptively simple but very difficult for the singers to do,” he said, citing “Kansas City” from “Oklahoma!” as an example.

Other familiar music from “Oklahoma!” includes “Oh, What a Beautiful Morning,” “Surrey with the Fringe on Top” and “I Cain’t Say No.”

The revue also includes some songs that originally came from “State Fair,” a film by Rodgers and Hammerstein, and from “Cinderella,” which was a television production in the days when broadcasts were in black and white.

There is a clever rendition of “The Stepsisters Lament” from “Cinderella,” as well as “Do I Love You Because You’re Beautiful?” and “Impossible.”

Audience members will quickly recognize songs like “Shall We Dance?,” “Hello, Young Lovers,” and “It Might As Well Be Spring.”

There is a beautiful set for the show, Lock said, and the gold, emerald and cranberry gowns worn in the second act are “gorgeous to look at.”

The show has a six-piece orchestra. Caron and Lock collaborated on the duties of musical director for the production.

Go and do

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

WHO: Lewiston-Auburn Community Little Theatre

WHEN: 8 p.m. March 12-13 and 19-20; 7:30 p.m. March 18; and 2 p.m. March 14 and 21

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

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

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