Gregory G. H. Rihn (milwaukeesfs) wrote,
Gregory G. H. Rihn

Cream City Chorus Concert: “Dancing Through Life.”

Saturday evening,  the 19th, we drove out to the Unitarian Universalist Church West for the last concert of the Wisconsin Cream City Chorus’ season, titled “Dancing Through Life.”  The theme of the concert was not just songs about dancing, although there were a lot of those, but songs about making one’s way through life as well.

Interestingly, the concert’s two acts broke down as the first, more heavily dance themed, which had a lot of music I was familiar with, and the second, more philosophical, which had a lot of music that was new to me.

It was kind of a daring theme for a group that doesn’t include any serious dancers and usually has pretty basic choreography. Nevertheless, a lot of good energy, motion, and timing made up for almost any perceived shortcomings.

The first half opened with “Dancing Through Life” from Wicked, and then went on with “Shine” from Billy Elliot, and “Razzle Dazzle ‘Em,” from Chicago.   “Tap Your Troubles Away” from Mac & Mabel was a really cute duet for Shirl Greeb and Hillary Giffen, but this was one song about dancing where it was particularly noticeable that no dancing was included.  This was followed by a medley of songs by Richard Rodgers and collaborators Sondheim, Hammerstein, and Hart, which was familiar and fun.

Tim Ruf’s solo, “Last Waltz for Dixie,” (from Civil War by Murphy and Wildhorn), with its elegy for the “lost cause”, might have seemed an odd choice for a group dedicated to diversity and tolerance, but was delivered with feeling and a sensibility for the pain of loss which gave some grounding to the set.

Shirl Greeb followed with another solo, “It’s an Art,” from Working, which all of us who had ever worked in food service applauded heartily.

The set built up to a big finish with “I Could Have Danced All Night,” “Tango Maureen,” (from Rent) and closed with the infectious “Can’t Stop the Beat” from Hairspray.

After a short intermission, the second half began with “Human Heart” from Once on this Island, and continued with “I Feel So Much Spring” (A New Brain) and “Can You Find It In Your Heart” (Footloose). One of the highlights of this section was “Song of Purple Summer” from Spring Awakening. ( I was a bit surprised that this cheerful and upbeat piece came from the musical adaptation of Frank Wedekind’s dismal and sordid play.  Looking up the musical, I see the plot’s the same, and “Song of Purple Summer” is the “hopeful” finale piece.)

The act continued with “Times Like This” from Lucky Stiff, a medley from Next to Normal,  and “To A Dancing Star” (musical of the same name). And how could anyone resist ending their show and their season with a song called “The Last Curtain Call” (from Everyman)? 

This was a very enjoyable, mostly upbeat, and fun concert which showed the group’s talents to good effect.  We have ordered our tickets for next season.

Tags: choral, cream city chorus, music, musicals
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