Other Broadway Love Stories at LEO, Vienna.
Robert Chionis (Jekyll & Hyde, Surviving Love) and Lenneke Willemsen (Elisabeth, Tanz der Vampire) presented an evening of songs, as the title suggests, by a selection of composers – including Cole Porter, Stephen Sondheim, Michael John LaChiusa and William Finn – whose work is rarely seen in Austria. The format was made up of different sections dedicated to each composer, featuring some medleys, duets and solos.
Highlights of the evening included their splendid duetting on ‘You Could Drive a Person Crazy’ and ‘Marry Me a Little’ (Sondheim’s Company) and the stunning solo ‘I’d Rather be Sailing’ (William Finn’s A New Brain) performed beautifully by Chionis. But most impressive was the Kiss Me, Kate medley. Numbers included ‘Too Darn Hot’ (another duet which worked quite well), ‘I Hate Men’ (which Willemsen sang flawlessly, she has after all played the lead in the show before), ‘Were Thine That Special Face’, ‘Wunderbar’, and the stunning ‘So in Love’.
While I was familiar with the majority of the composers represented, there was one whose work I had never heard of before: Ryan Scott Oliver. Chionis and Willemsen performed the songs ‘On Monday’, ‘Out of My Mind’ and ‘Make Me Happy’. All three were a delight to discover.
The artists were accompanied by a three-piece band featuring Masaki Saito on piano, Stefan Thaler on bass and Kristof Hrastnik on percussion.
I really do hope that we can expect more of these concerts in future as I really enjoyed the whole atmosphere: the great location, the choice of songs, and the two wonderful performers who sang with clarity and demonstrated their acting skills too.
The show was produced by La Prima Volta.
Ludovico Lucchesi Palli