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Queens Chronicle

Middle Village Singers Take On The Great American Songbook

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Posted: Thursday, June 26, 2003 12:00 am

For the past few years, Beari Productions has been presenting a show called Magical Musical Moments, (or “MMM,” as they refer to it) featuring songs from the great American songbook, from Broadway to boogie, and everything in between.

This time around, the show consists of 11 singers, most of them MMM veterans, who essay 38 of the most popular songs from past editions of the show, presented in a revue, which basically means that the performers have to dance and try to be funny as well as sing.

Not surprisingly, considering the high quality of the songs chosen, the highlights of this show came when the singers just stuck to singing, which some of them do quite well, and which all of them do at least adequately.

The evening began with an introduction from the show’s producer, Rene Bendana. Seemingly a hands-on kind of guy, it appeared from the stains on his shirt that he had just finished putting the last few touches of greasepaint on the production moments before taking the stage, in true show business tradition.

He then presented his wife Debbie Bendana, the show’s director, who served as a very amiable emcee. She also opened the show, appropriately, by singing “Welcome to the Theater.” This number, which requires acting as well as singing ability, is a challenging song for any singer, but Mrs. Bendana managed it very well, starting the evening off on an exciting note.

The most effective renderings were the solo and ensembles pieces. Barri Feuer’s performance stood out not only because of her beautiful voice, but also because she demonstrated a real sensitivity to the lyrics.

Jimmy O’Neill, despite his youth, has a real feel for the standards which, combined with his superb voice, could take him well beyond the confines of a church auditorium if he decides to pursue show business as a career.

It was also nice to see the musical side of actor-director Rich Weyhausen. Although not really a strong singer, his acting ability was an asset during solos such as “Music of the Night,” (from “Phantom of the Opera”) .

Some of the soloists, however, would have been better off remaining in the chorus. The “give everybody a chance” philosophy might be acceptable in a grammar school Christmas pageant, but not in a show which hopes to attract paying customers.

Although the musical accompaniment consisted of only a small, upright piano which faced the stage, pianist Tom Cordero (filling in for musical director Alan Kingsley) did an excellent job holding it all together. As for the dancing, whoever was responsible for the rudimentary attempt at choreography was wise enough not to claim credit for it in the program.

If there are not enough magical, musical moments in this show to make it “Some Enchanted Evening,” there are enough to entertain just about anyone who can’t get enough of that unique musical phenomenon known as The American Popular Song. So if you fall into this category, put on your “Baubles, Bangles and Beads,” get down to Trinity Lutheran Church, and let yourself be entertained by the “Music of the Night.”

“The Best of Magical, Musical Moments.” at Trinity Lutheran Church, 63-70 Dry Harbor Road, Middle Village. Remaining performances June 27th and 28th, at 8 p.m., and June 29th at 4 p.m. Tickets $14, $12 for seniors and children under 12

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