From Our Old Favourite Musicals
Around the Piano is a musical revue where the team at Victoria Playhouse does what they do best. With Mark Payne at the grand piano and David Rogers singing favourites from Rodgers & Hammerstein’s songbook, they have created another wonderful show, sure to please the VPP audience. Mark Payne brings along his three lovely daughters, Anna, Avery, and Julia. Barbara Mantini, one-third of The Mantini Sisters, rounds out the cast.
The musical theatre writing team of Rodgers and Hammerstein are responsible for many favourites: Oklahoma!, The King and I, South Pacific, The Sound of Music, Carousel, the movie State Fair, and the made-for-TV musical, Cinderella. Whether or not you’re a fan of the big musicals, there will be songs in this broad selection that you’ll enjoy. I’ll mention just a few here.
David Rogers immediately gets the audience in the mood with “The Sound of Music” and “It’s a Grand Night for Singing”. Barbara Mantini gives a wonderful medley of songs from South Pacific including “I’m Gonna Wash that Man Right Out-a My Hair” and “I’m in Love with a Wonderful Guy”. Later she gives a heartfelt rendition of “Climb Every Mountain”.
The usual Payne/Rogers banter is included: When Rogers and Mantini try to sing “I am 16 going on 17”, Payne puts a stop to it with concerns about the material being age appropriate.
The Payne girls add a wonderful touch to the show. All three have impressive stage presence, and delight the audience with an assortment of numbers. Julia sings a cute rendition of “Someone’s Being Bashful” from Once Upon a Mattress by Richard Rodgers daughter, Mary Rodgers. Little Avery is a delight with “Whistle a Happy Tune” from the King and I, and when she can’t whistle, she plays the fiddle. Anna is a charming Cinderella singing “In My Own Little Corner.”
Mark Payne plays several favourites and sings some lesser known songs by Rodgers and Hart (before Rodgers teamed up with Hammerstein) – “I Could Write a Book” from Pal Joey and “With a Song in My Heart” from Spring is Here.
David Rogers’ beautiful and powerful voice brings the house down with “Old Man River” from Show Boat, Hammerstein’s collaboration with Jerome Kern. His encore number “You’ll Never Walk Alone”, Carousel’s rousing anthem, sends shivers down your back.
This Rodgers and Hammerstein revue is a heartwarming collection of favourites, not to be missed. The historical notes on the iconic composer and lyricist offered by Rogers and Payne during the performance add to the enjoyment. Tickets are selling well – if you don’t call the box office immediately, you will miss out.
Around the Piano continues at Victoria Playhouse Petrolia until Sept. 1. Call the box office at 1-800-717-7694 or 519-882-1221 for tickets or visit www.thevpp.ca
Photo: David Rogers and Mark Payne with the music of Rodgers and Hammerstein. Photo by Diane ODell.
Around the Piano ~ The Music of Rodgers & Hammerstein II
Directed by David Hogan
Compiled by David Rogers
Musical Direction by Mark Payne
Performed by David Rogers, Mark Payne, Barbara Mantini, Anna Payne, Avery Payne, Julia Payne
Victoria Playhouse, Petrolia
August 24 to September 1, 2016
Reviewed by Mary Alderson