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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Singing Their Stories

Skylight Studio’s light-hearted finale

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The Skylight Studio Theatre Series final production this season, Sing Me a Story, fits well into their concept of engaging audiences in closer interactions with the cast—a cabaret experience without food and drink. With veterans Kay Stiefel and Jack Forbes Wilson, seasoned professional sophistication counts for a great deal—perhaps a bit too much at times. He plays the piano, sometimes too energetically, and she, having the stronger voice, does much of the singing.

Their vocal prowess is not the main attraction; the format leans heavily towards a light-hearted cornucopia of not overly familiar show tunes highlighting the couple’s charm and inventiveness, but curiously lacking in sentiment. Familiar composers such as Sondheim and Rodgers and Hart are referenced, as well as lesser knowns. Unfortunately, the melodiousness is sometimes obscured as Steifel and Wilson try to get to the core of the music in the best “show biz” tradition by elongating the numbers beyond their initial appeal, using too many stylized variations at the expense of the melodies.

Yet clever prop and costume changes give the duo personality and vigor not lost on the appreciative audience.

Likeability covers a shortcoming or two, but the professional dedication of the singers and the expertise of the arrangements covers a great deal more.

Sing Me a Story runs through May 19, at the Broadway Theatre Center’s Studio Theatre, 158 N. Broadway. For tickets, visit skylightmusictheatre.org or call 414-291-7800
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