Cabaret Staple Ricky Ritzel Returns to Don’t Tell Mama
by Ricky Pope Jun. 27, 2021
If you want to see a rarely performed musical from the past you have two options. You can either wait for the folks at Encores to get around to the show you love, or you can visit the Lincoln Center Library. Alternatively, you can turn to cabaret staple Ricky Ritzel, who is a one-man Lincoln Center Library. Friday night he unveiled another in his series of Ricky Ritzel‘S BROADWAY concerts at Don’t Tell Mama. He generously gives you not one, but three musicals from the past. This month’s edition of Ricky Ritzel‘S BROADWAY celebrates Bright Star, The New Moon, and Dames at Sea.
Bright Star, the Steve Martin, and Edie Brickell bluegrass musical opened in 2016 and ran for only 109 performances. Ricky Ritzel‘s very talented cast gave us six numbers from the show. Laura Pavles set the scene with ” If You Knew My Story.” Leading man, Jon Satrom crooned the title song, “Bright Star.” The two gave us ” Sun is Gonna Shine” and ” Heartbreaker.” Tara Martinez brought her glorious, dark voice to ” I Had a Vision” and the whole company gave a passionate performance of “At Long Last.” This is a musical that deserved a longer Broadway run and is currently having great success in regional theatres.
Just after the huge success of Show Boat, Oscar Hammerstein II returned to his regular collaborator, Sigmund Romberg to create another of their operettas set in an exotic location. The New Moon had a troubled out-of-town tryout that saw an extraordinary amount of rewriting. But by the time it rolled into Broadway in 1928, it was a big hit. Kelly Wohlford gave us an unexpectedly sexy version of the show’s big song, “Stouthearted Men.” Satrom and Laura Pavles returned to sing “Wanting You.” Ricky Ritzel introduced character actor, Aaron Morishita who sang “Softly as in a Morning Sunrise.” And Pavles and Satrom returned to sing another Hammerstein classic, “Lover, Where Can You Be?”
The highlight of the evening was the section devoted to George Haimsohn, Robin Miller, and Jim Wise‘s Dames at Sea. The parody of 1930’s Ruby Keeler musicals has been a perennial of regional theatres since it opened Off-Broadway in 1966. The show is most famous for making a star out of Bernadette Peters. Standing in for Peters, Tanya Moberly and Jon Satrom gave us “It’s You” in which they name about two dozen movie stars of the Depression era. Very deft comedienne, Eadie Scott raised camp to an art form in ” That Mister Man of Mine” and parody of the Gershwin’s “The Man I Love. ” She was joined by Aaron Morishita for “The Beguine,” a Latin-flavored paean to their long-ago tryst in exotic Pensacola. Tanya Moberly returned to give a very fine reading of “Raining in My Heart” and Tara Martinez and the entire company wrapped it up with the rousing “Good Times Are Here to Stay.”
Throughout, Ricky Ritzel served as both the one-man orchestra and narrator, who gave very wry commentary on the plot. The cast was amazingly versatile, turning from country to operetta and campy belting with equal verve. Ricky Ritzel presents three new musicals every month. It is a joyous way to revisit some Broadway shows that deserve a second hearing. I can’t wait to hear what he comes up with next.
To learn more about multiple Bistro Award winner, Ricky Ritzel, connect with him on Facebook. To get tickets to future editions of Ricky Ritzel‘S BROADWAY and other great acts at Don’t Tell Mama, visit donttellmamanyc.com