A review by Carol Canter with photos by Ben Krantz.
It is truly A GRAND NIGHT FOR SINGING was at The Gateway Theatre in San Francisco in spring 2022, for all those who attended 42nd St. Moon’s production of the lively musical revue showcasing the songs of Rodgers and Hammerstein. The show was just the escape needed from life’s harsh realities as a stellar cast of 6 brought new life and style to beloved classics from The King and I, South Pacific, Oklahoma, and more.
Songs were delivered with pathos and pizzazz, humor and heartache and often an element of surprise as old favorites emerge with new context. Large photographic images projected as a backdrop offered the audience an expansive look at love and romance in all its variations.
So when the heartbreaking song “We Kiss in a Shadow” (…”We hide from the moon…”) from The King and I (1951) was sung, photos of interracial and LGBTQ couples, out and proud, reminded us of the expanded parameters of love — as befits a theatrical performance in San Francisco, and everywhere, in these times.
Another exquisite tune from the same musical, “Something Wonderful,” likewise took on even deeper resonance when portraits of the homeless, each one dignified yet clearly fallen, broken, provide truly unexpected commentary.
Here was the song’s less well-known introduction:
“This is a man who thinks with his heart,
His heart is not always wise
This is a man who stumbles and falls,
But this is a man who tries…”
And here, the lyrical and unforgettable refrain:
“He will not always say
What you would have him say,
But now and then he’ll say
And underscoring yet again:
“He has a thousand dreams
That won’t come true …”
Such bittersweet moments mix with the unabashed hilarity of “I Caint Say No” from Oklahoma, or the genuine fun of “Shall We Dance,” was performed by the talented married couple Keith Pinto and Alison Ewing channeling Yul Brynner and Deborah Kerr in a most contemporary setting,
As I did after attending 42nd St. Moon’s memorable production of “A Little Night Music” in November, I returned home to listen to diverse renditions of favorite songs from the show. In November it was Sondheim’s incomparable “Send in the Clowns.” A Grand Night for Singing yielded its own treasures on YouTube. My favorite discovery was a beautiful young Rita Moreno in her 1956 duet of “We Kiss in a Shadow.”
WHAT: Rodgers and Hammerstein’s A GRAND NIGHT FOR SINGING
WHEN: March 10–27, 2022
WHERE: Gateway Theatre (215 Jackson Street, San Francisco, CA 94111)
RUNNING TIME: Approximately 1 hour, and 40 minutes, including a 15-minute intermission.
Company: Edu Gonzalez-Maldonado as “Edu,” Keith Pinto* as “Keith,” Jacqueline De Muro* as “Jacqueline,” Jasmine Cook* as “Jasmine” and Joel Chapman* as “Joel.”
Music: Richard Rodgers
Lyrics: Oscar Hammerstein II
Book: Walter Bobbie
Music Arrangements: Fred Wells
Director and Choreographer: Cindy Goldfield
Music Director: Lynden James
Costume Designer: Cindy Goldfield
Set Designer: Mark Mendelson
Lighting Designer: Claudio Silva Restrepo
Executive Artistic Director: Daniel Thomas Producing Artistic Director: Daren A.C. Carollo
42nd Street Moon – The Gateway Theatre – Mission: 42nd Street Moon tells universal stories through the production of contemporary and classic musical theatre. We celebrate humanity’s common heart and champion characters who sing their truth. We honor the best of the past by providing an outlet for the voices of the present, and we commit to a better future through our programming, education and community outreach.
I’m happy to see this event is ongoing until the 27th giving ample time to take in this fabulous show. Thanks for a great review, Carol!
Thanks, Carol. Jean would have loved this show!
You’re becoming my go-to reviewer for San Francisco events. I assume you will be covering the upcoming Jim Henson show?
I remember (and love) all these songs mentioned above. I would have enjoyed this show but for the fact I live way out of town (long Beach, N.Y.). At least I got a good reminder of what I”m about to listen to next thanks to Carol Canter’s good review of the proceedings!