My Favourite Broadway--The Love Songs
, the follow-up to 1998's My Favourite Broadway--The Leading Ladies
, allows the gentlemen in, but that's not always an advantage. Sure, Michael Crawford developed a great following as the Phantom and Nathan Lane is a comedian nonpareil
, but Tom Wopat, Brent Spiner, Peter Gallagher, Adam Pascal, and Ron Raines, while all fine performers with good career histories, simply can't match the marquee power of the original's Liza Minnelli, Audra McDonald, Jennifer Holliday, Nell Carter, and many others. And even when old-timers appear, Robert Goulet seems closer to Las Vegas than Lancelot, and Barry Manilow (mostly making his name as a composer these days) looks pretty awkward. That said, this is still an enjoyable live show from New York's City Centre. Among the ladies returning, Rebecca Luker and Marin Mazzie shine in songs from the revivals they star in, and super diva Linda Eder raises the roof with a three-song medley. And there are other additions to the roster, one legend, Chita Rivera (reprising her "English Teacher" from Bye Bye Birdie
), and one up-and-comer, Heather Headley (sharing her "Elaborate Lives" duet with Aida
co-star Pascal). But the first 100 minutes is all prologue, anyway. The real star is the host, Julie Andrews, who also hosted the original show and conspicuously did not sing in it, following her infamous, lawsuit-laden vocal-chord surgery that effectively ended her music career. Throughout the evening she teases the audience, reciting lyrics and making references to My Fair Lady
. So when Crawford begins the finale "I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face" and Andrews enters, the audience holds its breath: Will she or won't she? It's an electric moment, and perfect theatre. --David Horiuchi, Amazon.com
Some of Broadway's brightest stars come out to sing the great love songs in this 1998 extravaganza. Performers include Michael Crawford, Barry Manilow, Julie Andrews, Robert Goulet, Brent Spiner, Nathan Lane and Bebe Neuwirth.