In the glitzy world of Hollywood, it is often easy to forget that behind the performers is a whole world of creative minds that write, arrange, direct and conduct all the parts to make an even greater final product. Enter Rogers and Hart. Richard Rogers and Lorenz Hart formed a songwriting partnership that lasted for a quarter of century during Hollywood’s Golden Age.
Known for penning such memorable songs as My Funny Valentine and `Blue Moon,` the songwriters forged a place in the history of entertainment.
Beginning Friday, Jan.11, the Schenectady Light Opera Company will bring those songs to life once again with their performance of `Beguiled Again: The Songs of Rogers and Hart.`
`It’s not considered a musical,` said director Barry Corlew, `It’s being looked at as a stage review covering the 24 years of their partnership together.`
Though not arranged chronologically, the nearly 50 songs in the show will span the songwriting duo’s entire career.
`There are some lesser-known pieces in there. Three or four pieces I had no idea they wrote,` said Corlew.
The performance is done in what Coordinator of Publicity Dave Dixon calls a `cabaret style.`
`People will be at small, intimate tables of six to eight,` he said.
In fact, the Schenectady Light Opera’s performance of `Beguiled Again` is the first time that a community theater has taken on the challenge of this show. It is a new addition to company’s regular season. `We usually don’t do a production in January. We close in November or December and then do a show in March,` notes Dixon.
With only seven performers, the show offers a new twist on what theater-goers might expect. The review is arranged in nine small vignettes.
`As opposed to having people sing a song, we’ve staged it in vignettes to fit what’s going on ` the songs are grouped accordingly,` said Corlew.
`The music is staged in kind of a frantic way so people could understand how things were just going from one film to the next one in Hollywood,` he adds.
Take the song `Blue Moon,` which was written and rewritten several times. The final song was placed in a film, but `Beguiled Again` reflects the hectic process that music was written in, introducing the song in segments.
`The music is the big draw here. There are parts in this thing that have six-part harmony,` adds Corlew, `I was so proud of this cast. I was going to stage a quartet singing four different songs at the same time, and in an hour they had it.`
The entire performance, which is accompanied only by a trio of piano, drums and bass, will be done acoustically with no microphones or amplification.
The show was originally written and performed as `Beguiled Again` by J. Barry Lewis, Lynette Barkely, and Craig D. Ames. It was first produced a the Pope Theater in Florida.
The show runs Friday to Sunday, Jan. 11 to 13, and 18 to 20 at the 826 State St. theater in Schenectady. Friday and Saturday performances are 8 p.m. while the Sunday matinees are at 2 p.m. Tickets are $25 for adults and $10 for children 13 and under. For information, call 393-5732 or visit www.sloctheater.com.“