In keeping with its long, distinguished and successful history of world premieres and making old music new again, Pittsburgh Festival Opera this summer is producing If I Loved You… – a revue featuring the best of Rodgers’ and Hammerstein’s prolific output of memorable Broadway blockbusters. Jonathan Eaton and Rob Frankenberry have proven on a number of occasions that they are particularly adept at this type of creative endeavor, and have chosen the Broadway legends’ greatest hits, combining them into a new revue, which, using the premise of an audition, explores all aspects of romance against a very musical backdrop.
This clever setting treats listeners to much from the best of such classics as “Carousel,” “State Fair,” “Flower Drum Song,” “The King and I,” “The Sound of Music” – in all, thirty-two hits from these works are heard in full or partially, and guest composer Stephen Sondheim’s “Not Getting Married Today,” from “Company,” is included as an additional treat. The new musical revue takes audiences behind the scenes, so to speak, of a typical musical audition, and the joys – and disappointments – that come with this highly competitive trade.
In what Artistic and General Director Jonathan Eaton has called “a constellation of personalities,” the new revue he directs this summer uses a combination of innovations that promises to appeal to a wide variety of musical tastes. “There’s ‘The Bad Boy’ whom everyone loves to hate and ends up loving, like the Billy character from ‘Carousel,’” he added, while other character types include “The Young Woman Who Wants To Be a Broadway Star” and “The Older, Wiser, Comedic Woman.” The revue features many of the company’s best vocalists, and that says a great deal, as Pittsburgh Festival Opera includes quite a few exceptionally talented singing actors on its roster. The abundance and quality of the company’s talent – on the stage and behind the scenes – seems to increase from summer to summer.
“Oh What a Beautiful Morning,” “People Will Say We’re In Love,” “June is Bustin’ Out All Over,” “There is Nothin’ Like a Dame,” and “The Sound of Music” are just a few of the tunes incorporated into the revue. The exceptional cast includes Marie Anello, Thomas Cilluffo, Kelsey Fredriksen, Angela Joy Lamb, Alex Longnecker, Ryan Milstead, Bill Townsend and Emily Weaver. The exceptionally gifted Rob Frankenberry conducts.
There is only one more chance to catch the show at Snuggery Farm in Sewickley – Sunday, July 2, at 7:30. A reasonably priced gourmet barbecue preceding the show starts at 6:00 on the terraces. If I Loved You… will also be performed in the Falk Auditorium at Winchester Thurston, Shadyside, on the Sundays of July 9 and 16, both starting at 6:30.
If I Loved You… is a summer musical treat that shouldn’t be missed.