Bayou City Concert Musicals kicked off its 2012-13 season with 1943’s ONE TOUCH OF VENUS. “It seems strange,” says BCCM Artistic Director Paul Hope, “that a show written in the 1940s can be a Houston premiere, but ONE TOUCH OF VENUS has never before been seen on a Houston stage. That’s a sad oversight BCCM will correct in September.”
With music by Kurt Weill, lyrics by Ogden Nash and book by S.J. Perelman, ONE TOUCH OF VENUS is the story of the legendary statue as she comes to life and falls in love with an ordinary guy.
BCCM Artistic Director Paul Hope once again put together an outstanding team, both off-stage and on, for the Houston premiere of ONE TOUCH OF VENUS, September 6-9, 2012, at the Heinen Theatre. Musical Director Michael Mertz returned after his much-praised work on FINIAN’S RAINBOW. The ballet-infused choreography was designed by the talented Krissy Richmond. And what would a BCCM show be without Conductor Dominique Røyem leading the orchestra?
The cast was testament to the depth of musical theatre talent in Houston. Danica Dawn Johnston brought her beautiful voice and her impeccable comic timing to the lead role of Venus. Calling Rob Flebbe, who played Rodney, the barber who falls in love with his Venus, a triple threat probably underestimates him. In addition to being a talented actor, a fine singer and a superb dancer, Rob is also an accomplished choreographer who staged many of the musical sequences in BCCM’s 2011 production of FINIAN’S RAINBOW.
The supporting cast was equally strong, featuring return appearances by Susan O. Koozin, Susan Draper, and BCCM cabaret favorite Grace Givens. Joe Kirkendall, one of Houston’s finest actors, made his BCCM debut as art connoisseur Whitelaw Savory.
ONE TOUCH OF VENUS was presented through special arrangement with R & H Theatricals: www.rnh.com
Bayou City Concert Musicals’ popular cabaret series has focused on Broadway. Maybe a song or two, here and there, had its start on the silver screen, but for the most part the streets of New York have been the home for the composers and lyricists the cabarets have featured. But just as the Great American Songbook isn’t limited to the tunes of the Great White Way and Tin Pan Alley, neither is BCCM.
For its February 2013 cabaret, BCCM followed Jerome Kern, already a major figure in American music, as he moved his talents to Hollywood in 1935. It didn’t take him long to feel right at home. He and lyricist Dorothy Fields won the 1936 Academy Award for best song with The Way You Look Tonight from the movie SWING TIME. Kern returned to Broadway only once, in 1939, with VERY WARM FOR MAY, a less-than-great show that included one of his greatest songs, All The Things You Are. Movies became the medium for his biggest hits, including A Fine Romance, I Won’t Dance, Long Ago and Far Away, and The Last Time I Saw Paris (for which he won his second Academy Award in 1941).
BCCM presented JEROME KERN IN HOLLYWOOD February 4, 11, 18 & 25, 2013, at the Performance Centre at the Ensemble Theatre.
The May cabaret went bi-coastal as BCCM focused on the work of Arthur Schwartz. Schwartz may be the best American composer whose name you don’t know. Schwartz wrote for both the Broadway stage and the movies, collaborating with some of the best lyricists of all time. For Broadway, he produced such standards as I Guess I’ll Have to Change My Plan and Dancing in the Dark. Like Jerome Kern, Arthur Schwartz won two Academy Awards, the first in 1944 for They’re Either Too Young or Too Old from THANK YOUR LUCKY STARS. His second Oscar came in 1948 for A Gal in Calico from the film THE TIME, THE PLACE AND THE GIRL. In 1990, 16 years after his death, his song That’s Entertainment was named the most performed feature film standard by ASCAP.
BCCM presented ALONE TOGETHER: THE SONGS OF ARTHUR SCHWARTZ May 6, 13 & 20, 2013, at the Performance Centre at the Ensemble Theatre.