Composer-lyricist Maury Yeston, now 74, has won Tony Awards for the Broadway musicals “Nine” and “Titanic” and is the inspiration for the musical “Anything Can Happen in the Theater,” conceived and directed by Gerard Alessandrini and being presented by the York Theatre Company. Five talented performers bring a bevy of Yeston’s numbers to the stage in a delightful revue.
Alessandrini, with an eye toward casting as reflected in his “Forbidden Broadway” shows, has assembled Benjamin Eakeley, Jovan E’Sean, Alex Getlin, Justin Keyes and Mamie Parris, all of whom reveal the wide range in acting-singing styles needed to interpret the variety of Yeston numbers sandwiched into the production.
The songs here, even though appealing, are not generally very well known. Most familiar perhaps are those from “Nine,” based on the film “8½,” with music and lyrics by Yeston. Benjamin Eakeley, with charm and a commanding voice, sings “Guido’s Song,” about a director’s liking for multiple women, and also impressively sings “Only With You.”
Attractive and versatile Mamie Parris sings “A Man Like You” and “Unusual Way,” also from “Nine,” as well as the amusing “Call from the Vatican.” She also effectively teams with Keyes and E’Sean on the lively “Nine” number “Cinema Italiano.”
As for songs from other shows, Parris delivers knockout numbers “ Shimmy Like They Do in Paree” (“Death takes a Holiday”) and “I Want to Go to Hollywood” (“Grand Hotel”), with the full company delivering the title number from “Grand Hotel.”
Alex Getlin, who has a most interesting face with soulful expressions and a voice that can ooze intimacy, excels with solo numbers “Danglin’,” and “Strange.” She also teams hilariously with Parris in the feminist “No Women in the Bible.” Handsome, strong-voiced E’Sean is also a standout with “I Had a Dream About You” from “December Song” and “Mississippi Moon.”
One of the most delightful numbers is the sexy “Salt n’ Pepper,” performed by Justin Keyes, who, wearing a chef’s toque, sings about his kitchen availability. It’s the kind of number that a woman would entice with, and is especially enjoyable when Keyes delivers his saucy interpretation.
The full company is impressive when gathering for such songs as “Anything Can Happen in the Theater” and “Godspeed, Titanic,” that one from the musical “Titanic,” as well as other ensemble numbers. The revue breezes through in an intermission-less 80 minutes, with piano accompaniment by musical director Greg Jarrett and choreography by Gerry McIntyre. At Saint Peters, 54th street and Lexington Avenue. Phone: 212-935-5820. Reviewed December 12, 2019.