MAKE ME A SONG was presented by UC College Oct. 20-22. You can read the show description here.
When it comes to composers, many theater fans have those they like and those they are not particularly fond of. Say the name William Finn to me and you’ll have to remind which shows are his. For whatever reason, his music never sticks in my memory. The revue MAKE ME A SONG only reinforces my ambivalence for Finn.
The show seems to be put together for fans of the composer. Eighty-five intermission-less minutes with a total of thirty-three songs with no book to speak of. Eleven of them are organized into The Falsettoland Suite which contains songs from The Marvin Trilogy. If you are unfamiliar with those shows, you are on your own for context. The final songs are subtitled, Finn’s ‘Cycle of Life,’ and “comprises four songs encompassing all of human experience.” To me, these seem like a desperate attempt to force the audience into some kind of emotional response to Finn’s music before they walk out the door.
At the 2pm matinee there did appear to be some issues with sound. The piano, expertly played by Steve Goers, overpowered the volume of the singers during several of the songs. Also, the balance of the mics seemed off in several of the group numbers.
Director Aubrey Berg has stacked the show with some big voices. Favorite moments include the Max Chernin/Alysha Desloriex duet “Id Rather Be Sailing/Set Those Sails.” Victoria Cook’s “Only One” and Blaine Krauss’ “Hitchhiking Across America.” But it is Collin Kessler who steals the spotlight in several solos as William Finn.
Bottom line, as musical revues go, this one is in desperate need of structure, and an update to include songs from Finn’s most recent works. The songs, no matter how well sung, does not work as theater.
Click here for information on for MAKE ME A SONG.
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