BROADWAY ON THE BEACH:
Malcolm Gets & Melissa Errico combine voices in Fire Island Pines new theater.
While the Grove continues to explore its signature over the top theatrical antics the Pines utilizes its spiffy new theater space to preserve its upscale, low profile “cool”, inviting two Broadway/Cabaret stars to its shore.
Melissa Errico, a Long Island girl, is familiar to many as the star of My Fair Lady, High Society, Amour and Dracula. At Yale, Melissa won the role of Cosette in the First National Touring Company of Les Miserables and was cast as Kitty in the Broadway musical Anna Karenina at Circle in the Square.
Dancer, singer, composer, classically trained pianist, vocal director, and choreographer Malcolm Gets had a career enhancing performance in Amour (sharing the stage with Melissa) for which he was nominated for a Tony, and in The Two Gentlemen of Verona, for which he won an Obie Award and recently performed at Carnegie Hall in Mostly Sondheim with Barbara Cook.
They were joined at the piano by John McDaniels, who became a well known face from his turn on the Rosie O’Donnell show.
The evening united these two personal and professional friends, fellow Yalies, who met at Yale’s prestigious Drama school. They have been performing together for about 16 years. “There are actually four of us up here” Melissa explained as she revealed she was carrying twins. Their cabaret performances together began when Errico spotted Malcom in a cabaret audience and spontaneously called him to the stage whereupon they effortlessly launched into songs made possible by Malcolm’s piano expertise.
About their relationship Melissa extolled: "When I spend time with Malcolm, on and off stage, it renews my faith in the true power of friendship. Friends are people you choose (unlike family!), then time passes and the bond grows and grows as each is always changing and always free to move on. Your genuine friends know everything about you, and love you anyway! And Malcolm is both a friend and a creative partner. Our shared love of music and harmony and research is boundless. And we are both a little insane, so it works."
Young Gets was trained at a classical pianist at the age of 8 but his mother’s love of musical theater prompted him to customize a favorite song for each family member as they came home – an ability he honed along with his classical training so that to hear his unique arrangements at the piano, to which he treated the audience, provided moments of breathtaking beauty.
They started appropriately with Gypsy’s “Together Wherever We Go”. Melissa took the mike and confided that, when she was her first musical, On Your Toes, at the age of 6, she wept uncontrollably because she wanted to be there. Her “career” cast her most inappropriately in elementary school productions (always someone mature) such as the lead in Evita when she was thirteen.
But she proved her mettle in the romantic “So In Love” while Gets chose fellow Yalie Cole Porter’s somewhat silly “The Oyster Song” (about an oyster who was ingested by a society woman who barfed it up later from her yacht – and considered himself lucky???).
They each drew on their common experience in Finian’s Rainbow with Errico’s sweet soprano version of “How Are Things in Glocca Mora” and Gets’ personality infused “Something Sorta Grandish”, and a similarly experienced song from Amour. Somewhat less successful was their combined take on Fats Waller’s “Honeysuckle Rose” which sounded very generic.
Gets redeemed himself with a tour de force version of Sondheim’s “A Weekend in the Country” in which he played the entire cast! And in the audience-enlisted sing-a-long to “I Could Have Danced All Night” Errico left them far behind with her soaring soprano. Another sing-a-long was both funnier and less successful as Gets researched a somewhat ribald number called “The Fire Island Song” written by Ray Simpson, also known as the Cop in the group "The Village People".
In a beautiful quiet moment the maternal Melissa softly sang jazz standard "Child Is Born" by Thad Jones - a tune commonly associated to Tony Bennett and Bill Evans. “I dedicated it to my daughter and it is on my CD that came out this month on Universal Records called LULLABIES AND WILDFLOWERS. As a mom I can say it helps you unwind at the end of a day”.
Their official show concluded with the touching and appropriate “Moving On” but their encore “You’re Just in Love” sent the audience singing into the night.
After the performance Melissa added: "I had the time of my life. I fell in love with Fire Island, I fell in love with the new Fradd Theater, I fell in love our audience and with my darling Malcolm all over again and I had a chance to sing my favorite songs .....with twins in my belly!! What a full weekend it was!!".
Saturday, June 7th, Brandon Fradd Theatre, Whyte Hall
Next up: Brian Stokes Mitchell, One Night Only
June 28 9PM, for tickets www.fipap.org