Arkansas Repertory Theatre
There’s a reason why elevator music is played quietly — so a group of strangers suddenly cramped into an intimate space, each anxiously waiting for their floor, can all ignore each other by tapping their feet along to a synthesized version of the Beatles’ “Imagine.” Then, as soon as the doors open, they get the hell away.
There’s a reason why that kind of music should not be played live, but the Rep has not, apparently, caught on.
The ingredients for success were right: Lawrence Hamilton, Philander Smith College’s choir director who’s got Broadway credentials; the pop/country songs of fellow Arkansan Randy Goodrum; Pianist Frank Owens, who’s accompanied Johnny Mathis and Lena Horne, with a five-piece band and flashy back-up singers.
Hamilton created “Souvenirs” as a vehicle for his songs and some of Goodrum’s famous compositions (including Steve Perry’s “Foolish Heart” and Anne Murray’s “You Needed Me”). The idea, Hamilton said, was to celebrate his friendship with Goodrum and “special moments in my life.”
But Big Apple meets jazz meets country added up, curiously, to a thoroughly bland performance, replete with sappy love songs and moral tales disguised as melody. It amounted to nothing more than a lounge act — put a dollar in the tip jar, please!
In fact, “Souvenirs,” which runs through Sunday, June 19, is in part a benefit, for Circle of Life Hospice Care. Hamilton has been a part of many charity events over the years. Its good intentions didn’t rescue it, however.
Did they play a wrong note? Were they off-key? Not necessarily, but for a few minor flaws in the performance. Patrick Lindsey did a nice job with percussion, Stephanie James sang a good duet with Hamilton, whose vocals left something to be wished for in the higher registers. Had the band been able to show more prowess, it might have made a difference.
— By Dustin Allen
BENTON — The Royal Players’ production of “Guys and Dolls” is a treat for those wanting to catch a great family event at the tail end of summer, complete with great acting performances and a live quartet that -– despite the musical’s New York setting –-
With the production of Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing,” the Rep, for the first time all year at shows this reviewer has attended, lives up to its reputation for being Arkansas’s leading voice in theater. For all the talent available to the Rep ov
Hog fans just can't quit blaming the refs for the NCAA men's basketball tournament loss to North Carolina. Now the Arkansas Senate has gotten in on the act, with this resolution introduced by Democratic Sen. Keith Ingram and getting bipartisan co-sponsorship from that brutish and short sandlot roundball player, Republican Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson.
The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra opened its season Saturday night with a return visit by the 28-year-old violin virtuoso Augustin Hadelich, who had appeared with the orchestra in the Beethoven concerto two years ago.