chad m. weisman
For directors Andy Gale and Keith Burton, each and every Musical Theater Revue is a labor of love. This evening’s collection, set to begin at 10:30 p.m. in Elizabeth S. Lenna Hall, is no different. It has been titled “When I Fall in Love.”
The performances — given by Chautauqua Opera Company’s Young Artists — will display the passion both directors put into their work.
Jay Lesenger, Chautauqua Opera’s artistic/general director, started the program with the vision of providing an informal creative outlet for singers to express themselves, independently of the conventions their art form demands.
“The idea is to pull people out of that into who they are as a person,” said Burton, the show’s musical director. “The environment Andy [Gale] has been able to set up is very permissive and gives people a chance to do things they don’t normally do.”
Like any true love, this collection is unique.
“This is not a musical revue that existed in a book someplace,” Gale said. “No one’s picked these songs, put them in this order and presented them as a piece.”
The first song, Hugh Martin’s “Love,” will set the tone of the evening, expressing love’s ethereality. In the lyricist’s words, “Love is almost never the same.”
In the face of a marvelously complex subject, Burton and Gale have constructed a narrative that explores the many different expressions of one of the most powerful human emotions.
From the “First Spark of Love,” to “Breaking Up,” to “Re-Finding Love,” the directors and performers have sought to forge a relationship with the audience that will blossom throughout the course of the evening.
The relationship between audience and performer is a dynamic one.
“We could do a fantastic job putting on a show just for ourselves, but it’s not the same thing because the audience is a part of the equation, part of the dialogue,” Gale said. “The gestalt of the whole event has to be with the audience there, feeling and responding.”
To Gale, the potent combination of audience and crowd is much like the marriage of music and lyrics. This relationship has made the “great treasury of American popular songs … like our Shakespeare sonnets. They can be so profound, so full and so revisitable. If the song is good, it lives.”
Bringing Burton and Gale’s collection to life are Young Artists Clayton Brown, Tatiana Ogan, Michael Hewitt, Adam Barta, Meaghan Delter, Cree Carrico and Amber Garrett.