Review of Thank You For Your Love A Celebration of Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt with Carole Demas & Sarah Rice at Laurie Beechman Theatre, New York City

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Thank You For Your Love A Celebration of Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt with Carole Demas & Sarah Rice at Laurie Beechman Theatre, New York City; June 24 and June 27, 2017

Review by Anne Akers; Founder/Editor in Chief, GLOW Beauty Health Wellness Magazine

 

What happens when you bring together two theatre lovers, a drama student, and an operatic tenor for a night on the town in Manhattan? Dim the lights, head to the West Side of Manhattan, and you will find this quartet seated front and center at the Laurie Beechman Theatre for a musical tribute to one of the theatre’s most beloved teams, Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt, best known for their collaborations on the book and lyrics for The Fantasticks, and Schmidt’s first Broadway musical, 110 in the Shade followed by I Do, I Do.

The evening, aptly titled “Thank You for Your Love”, was borne from the personal perspectives of two multi-talented performers…. Carole Demas and Sarah Rice…who share the love and appreciation of Jones and Schmidt….and the distinction of both having played the lead role of Luisa in The Fantasticks. If that credential were not enough to raise your expectations for the evening ahead, consider Rice’s casting as the original Johanna in Sweeney Todd and Demas’ captivating creation of “Sandy” in Broadway’s original Grease.

The evening began with an Overture from The Fantasticks and included standards like My Cup Runneth Over and Try to Remember, as well as novelty numbers “Feed ’em Grits” and “Autumn at the Automat”, showcasing the versatility of two of Broadway’s most captivating talents.

A crowd favorite was “Everything Beautiful Happens at Night” (from 110 in the Shade) and for one night everything was happening at the storied Laurie Beechman Theatre, opened in 1983 specifically to house those active in the theatre scene. Bruce Willis was a bartender in the upstairs restaurant and Tennessee Williams, Arthur Penn and Sean Penn were regulars.

This night’s audience was composed primarily of those who remember the 60’s along with friends and supporters of Schmidt and Jones. Many funny, intimate stories were shared, including a guest appearance by Hal Robinson, whom Rice remembered as the first El Gallo.

But the high point of the evening was when Tom Jones, greeted with a standing ovation, walked on stage. Tall, silver haired and with the commanding appearance of a “man who has lived life”, Tom immediately engaged his audience with the opening line: “Old songwriters never die; they just de-compose”. His repertoire, self-effacing and humorous, peppered with jokes and memories, ended with a personal and philosophical statement on the art of songwriting. As he explained, songwriters compress all human emotions into an understandable and relatable form. And in so doing , “songs change the nature of pain”.

For all who participated in, and attended, “Thank You For Your Love”, there was agreement that song can indeed take away the pain and fill us with pleasure. A two-day tribute whose message is timeless.

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BROADWAY VETS CAROLE DEMAS & SARAH RICE UNITE IN NEW TRIBUTE TO TOM JONES & HARVEY SCHMIDT

THANK YOU FOR YOUR LOVE to feature songs, multimedia, and memories from two storied careers

NEW YORK, NY, June 6, 2017 – Broadway veterans Carole Demas, who originated the role of Sandy in Grease, and Sarah Rice, who originated the role of Johanna in Sweeney Todd, have teamed up to celebrate the music of Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt, composers of THE FANTASTICKS, 110 IN THE SHADE, I DO! I DO! and more. Demas and Rice have based their show on their 50 years of work and personal relationships with Jones and Schmidt.

The show, titled THANK YOU FOR YOUR LOVE, will be presented on June 24 and 27, 2017 at 7pm at The Laurie Beechman Theatre.

Demas and Rice each played Luisa in the long-running original production of THE FANTASTICKS. From a personal perspective, they will share their love and appreciation of years of professional work and ongoing friendships with Jones and Schmidt. This unique offering of songs, multimedia, and funny and poignant backstage/onstage stories will feature beloved favorites such as MY CUP RUNNETH OVER, TRY TO REMEMBER, SOON IT’S GONNA RAIN, and other exquisite gems and novelty numbers sung by two of Broadway’s most captivating voices.

Thank You For Your Love is directed by award winning actor/director Charles Repole with musical direction and vocals by Joe Goodrich, special guest Broadway’s Hal Robinson, harpist Maria Banks, and veteran sound designer Stuart J. Allyn who will debut brand new Sennheiser Digital 6000 Microphones, courtesy of Sennheiser.

Tickets ($35-$50 + $20 food/beverage minimum) are available by visiting Ovation Tix or by calling (212) 352-3101. Demas and Rice extend a special discount to MAC and fellow AEA members.

The Laurie Beechman Theatre at the West Bank Café is located at 407 West 42nd Street.

About Carole Demas

Carole Demas, Broadway and TV legend, stole the hearts of audiences and critics alike with her captivating and critically-acclaimed creation of Sandy in Broadway’s iconic, original GREASE. Her 57 year career has included thousands of leading role performances on and Off-Broadway and in regional theater. Carole originated the title role in the premiere production of Stephen Schwartz’s THE BAKER’S WIFE, in Los Angeles. Among her other roles: two years at New York’s Sullivan St. Playhouse as Luisa in THE FANTASTICKS and the creation of original ingénue leads in Fred Ebb’s MORNING SUN; RONDELAY (director Cyril Ritchard, choreographer Jacques d’Amboise); Oscar Brand’s HOW TO STEAL AN ELECTION (opposite Clifton Davis); Tom Jones & Harvey Schmidt’s PHILEMON and THE BONE ROOM. In major regional theatres: Philia (A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM); Regina (ANOTHER PART OF THE FOREST); Angel (CELEBRATION); Wanda (ENTER LAUGHING); Corrie (BAREFOOT IN THE PARK, with Joan Bennett) and singing for the Champlain and NY Shakespeare Festivals for multiple seasons.

Carole played numerous guest star roles on classic prime time TV (including, KOJAK, MANNIX, ROUTE 66, BARNABY JONES, MAN FROM ATLANTIS, FANTASTIC JOURNEY (recently, BLUE BLOODS/CBS and ALLEGIANCE/NBC) and recurring roles on daytime dramas (EDGE OF NIGHT, ONE LIFE TO LIVE, AS THE WORLD TURNS). For the popular PBS Series GREAT PERFORMANCES, Carole joined other stars of the Great White Way for Lorimar’s SHOWSTOPPERS – THE BEST OF BROADWAY. On film, Carole starred in the 300 YEAR WEEKEND, with William Devane and THE SPACE WORKS for Trans-Lux Corp. Other films include appearances in: A LOVELY WAY TO DIE for Universal Films and the recently released THE DISAPPOINTMENTS ROOM.

Her New York City concert and cabaret performances include: (BROADWAY ORIGINALS (Town Hall), OFF-BROADWAY CLOSE UP (Merkin Hall), 50th Anniversary celebrations for WBAI Radio, Lincoln Center Library and The Fantasticks. She is seen in NYC’s favorite cabaret venues (Feinsteins/54 Below, Birdland, The Metropolitan Room, Laurie Beechman Theater, New World Stages annual gala, Le Poisson Rouge, The Iridium, The Triad-Stage 72, Signature Theatre, Urban Stages, Concerts For City Greens, etc.). She sang for BROADWAY TO BARBADOS for two seasons and recently headlined on Crystal Cruise, Film and Theatre Cruise to French Polynesia. She is a recurring favorite star in The Ziegfeld Society Productions in New York City. Her one-woman show in NYC and other locales (including The Caribbean Theatre, St. Croix) received rave reviews…”a powerhouse of musical theatre”, “a vocal champion”, “a consummate artist”, her voice has been described as “shimmering and thrilling with great warmth, sweetness and surprising power”. Her engaging, exciting cabaret and concert performances have brought funds and attention to many worthy causes.

Carole starred in TV’s most successful regional children’s series, THE MAGIC GARDEN (for over 12 years) leading to hundreds of live family concerts and recent viral posts on Facebook. Carole’s wonderful versatility has been seen on camera in principal roles in over 200 commercials for television (everything from men’s cologne to peanut butter and often singing the jingles as well), among them Kodak, Promise Margarine, Lipton Tea, Puss ‘n Boots, Wonder Bread, M&M’s, Clairol, Timex, Lysol, AT&T, etc. more at www.caroledemas.com, www.caroleandpaula.com

About Sarah Rice

Sarah Rice originated the role of Marianne in a musical adaptation of THE MISER called HANG ON TO YOUR RIBBONS, Off-Off Broadway. This led to being cast as Luisa in the long-running original Off-Broadway production of THE FANTASTICKS. She continued in the role for over two years. She also played Anne in A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC, Cunegonde in CANDIDE, at the Guthrie, Miranda in THE TEMPEST, Zan in REGINA, Gretel in HANSEL AND GRETEL and Liesl in THE SOUND OF MUSIC. Stephen Sondheim and Harold Prince chose her to become part of musical theatre history when she was cast as the original Johanna in SWEENEY TODD, THE DEMON BARBER OF FLEET STREETon Broadway for which she won a Theatre World Award and recorded on RCA.

Leading soprano roles since then include Marie in DAUGHTER OF THE REGIMENT, Gilda in RIGOLETTO, Cunegonde in CANDIDE, Mabel in PIRATES OF PENZANCE, Kathie in THE STUDENT PRINCE, Lady Catherine in THE VAGABOND KING, Monica in THE MEDIUM, Madame Goldentrill in THE IMPRESARIO, Maria in WEST SIDE STORY, Marietta in NAUGHTY MARIETTA, Magnolia in SHOWBOAT, Christine Daae in PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, Sarah in BITTERSWEET, Margot in THE DESERT SONG, Susanna in THE SECRET OF SUSANNA, Gretel in CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS, THE MERRY WIDOW (with Dame Joan Sutherland), Tirese/Tiresias in LES MAMELLES DE TIRESIAS, Eolo in L’ORIONE, Marian Paroo in THE MUSIC MAN, Jenny Lind in BARNUM, and Sarah Brown in GUYS AND DOLLS, with theater and opera companies throughout the world, including the famed Gran Teatro la Fenice in Venice, Italy, Santa Fe Opera, Central City Opera, Dallas Opera and others.

She is a 2010 Bistro Award and 2011 MAC AWARD winner, Female Vocalist, for her critically acclaimed solo cabaret debut, SARAH RICE sings SCREEN GEMS, Songs of Old Hollywood and voted favorite female cabaret debut performer by Cabaret Hotline Online readers in 2009. Recent shows include her Ivor Novello/Noel Coward show, celebrating the music of the era of Downton Abbey, GLAMOROUS NIGHTS & CARELESS RAPTURE, and serial guest-starring in the award-winning SONDHEIM UNPLUGGED both at 54 Below, and The Mabel Mercer Foundation’s Cabaret Convention where she returned last year for their Sondheim Evening. More at www.sarahrice.com

About Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt

Tom Jones wrote the book and lyrics, and Harvey Schmidt wrote the music for THE FANTASTICKS, the longest running production in the history of the American theatre. Jones and Schmidt’s first Broadway musical, 110 IN THE SHADE, had a successful run and was later revived in a production starring Audra McDonald. I DO! I DO!, their two character musical with Mary Martin and Robert Preston, ran for a year on Broadway and a year on the road and is frequently done around the country and the world. (One production, in Minneapolis, played for twenty-two continuous years with the same two actors in the leading roles.) For several years, Jones and Schmidt worked privately at their theatre workshop, concentrating on small musicals in new and often untried forms. The most notable of these efforts were CELEBRATION, which moved to Broadway, and PHILEMON, which won the Outer Critics Circle Award and was filmed for television. In addition to an Obie Award and the 1992 Special Tony for THE FANTASTICKS, in 1999 Jones and Schmidt were inducted into the Broadway Hall of Fame at the Gershwin Theatre and in 2012 they were inducted into the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame. After the retirement of Mr Schmidt, Tom Jones has been working on three new musicals: LA TEMPESTA, with composer Andrew Gerle; HAROLD & MAUDE, with composer Joseph Thalken; and THE GAME OF LOVE, with composer Jacques Offenbach (arrangements by Nancy Ford).

About Director Charles Repole

Charles Repole directed the highly acclaimed concert versions of DUBARRY WAS A LADY starring Faith Prince and Robert Morse and CALL ME MADAM starring Tyne Daly for the prestigious City Center Encores! series. Other Broadway directing credits include the revival of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (which originated at the Goodspeed Opera House), The Lauri Strauss Leukemia Foundation Benefit at Carnegie Hall, the Easter Bonnet Competition at the Palace Theatre, A SALUTE TO FRANK SINATRA at Carnegie Hall and he conceived and directed the annual fund raising gala for the 92nd Street “Y”for over 10 years. Also an accomplished on-stage performer, he has appeared before Broadway audiences starring in DOUBLES, WHOOPEE! (a Drama Desk nomination) and VERY GOOD EDDIE (a Tony nomination and a Theatre World Award). Off-Broadway credits include OLYMPUS ON MY MIND. Mr. Repole is the Chairman of the Drama, Theatre and Dance Department at Queens College and was the recipient of the 2001 President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching.

About Musical Director and Vocalist Joe Goodrich

Joe Goodrich is a singer, pianist, and composer. He started writing songs when he was about twelve, and since then has written many more as well as several operas, musicals and orchestral and chamber music. As a singer, he has performed pop, jazz, and leading tenor roles in opera, including Romeo in Gounod’s ROMEO ET JULIETTE, Edgardo in Donizetti’s LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR and Almaviva in Rossini’s BARBER OF SEVILLE. Also a voice teacher, he has taught singing in the Graduate Acting Program at Temple University in Philadelphia, the Tisch School at New York University, New York’s HB Studio, and continues to have a thriving private voice studio. Joe is the former songwriting protégé of Chuck Israels, teacher to Paul Simon. Joe’s new pop album of all original songs, INVISIBLE MAN can be found on iTunes and he can be heard singing the title role in Gounod’s “Faust” this fall with The New York Opera Forum. Joe is seen and heard playing once a month at Feinstein’s/54 Below as the music director for SONDHEIM UNPLUGGED, where he has accompanied many original cast members of Sondheim musicals including Teri Ralston, George Lee Andrews, Ken Jennings, Sarah Rice, and Jim Walton.

About Sound Designer Stuart J. Allyn

Stuart J. Allyn is an award-winning sound designer, consultant, recording engineer. EMMY Award for Lead Audio – The 1994 Winter Olympics. Theatrical Sound Designs include: critically acclaimed NY debut PHANTOM by Maury Yeston & Arthur Kopit; New York Premier of James Michener’s SAYONARA; the multi-award winning SONG OF SINGAPORE – “Best Off-Broadway Musical”; Sondheim’s COMPANY national tour; New York Shakespeare Festival’s ONE FLEA SPARE and SATURN RETURNS. He served The White House and recently was designer/mixer for Broadway to Barbados concerts 3 years running, Actor’s fund benefit for Kathi Moss with 40 original cast Broadway stars from NINE, GREASE and GRAND HOTEL, and the 25th Reunion Concert of GRAND HOTEL. Mr. Allyn designed and mixed The MAC Award Winning City Greens Concerts and has mixed the Newport Jazz Festival, concerts at Carnegie Hall, Birdland, etc.

Other credits include: THE WINTER IN LISBON(film) with Dizzy Gillespie, award winning scores for Columbia Pictures; critically acclaimed independent films; specials for PBS including: Placido Celebrates Seville; and SESAME STREET, 20 YEARS AND STILL COUNTING, with Ray Charles, Placido Domingo etc.; Grammy nominated albums: LICKETY SPLIT (The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra,) and MEL LEWIS, 20 YEARS AT THE VILLAGE VANGUARD. Nominated for 4 Grammys, 3 Emmys, an Obie, several CLIOs winner of EMMY, ASCAP, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle and 3 film festival awards.

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