THEATER | DANCE | CLASSICAL MUSIC | OPERA | COMEDY

NORTH TEXAS PERFORMING ARTS NEWS

REVIEWS

Cynthia Clawson

Review: The Majestic Unplugged | Lyric Stage | The Majestic Theatre


Remember When

Lyric Stage and special guest Cynthia Clawson celebrate the Majestic Theatre's history with an un-miked concert.



published Saturday, November 17, 2018

Photo: Courtesy Lyric Stage
Cynthia Clawson

 

Dallas — Stepping into the lobby of the beautifully restored Majestic Theatre, with its gilded ceilings, huge mirrors and glittering chandeliers is a trip into downtown Dallas’s most glamorous history. This weekend you can boost that experience with a terrific lineup of singers and musicians taking the stage to take you back to the songs and comedy acts of this plush venue in its golden performance days.

Lyric Stage founder and producer Steven Jones celebrates the award-winning company’s shift of venues last year from Irving to the Majestic with Majestic Unplugged, a classy all-acoustic concert of songs dating from the theater’s opening in 1921 as a vaudeville house through its closing as a movie palace in 1973.

Eight stylish singers familiar to Lyric Stage audiences appear, together with guest vocal artist Cynthia Clawson, a 1981 Grammy Award-winning gospel singer whose rendition of “Softly and Tenderly” enhanced the soundtrack for the 1985 film The Trip to Bountiful. We hear them all sing in over 30 solos, duets and as a rich-voiced company, directed by Bruce Greer (spiffy in sharp spats at the piano), conductor of the eight-person orchestra in formal dress seated on risers behind the performers.

Popular musical theater tenor Max J. Swarner sets a warm, festive tone for the evening, opening the concert with “Pure Imagination,” from the 1970 film, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Surprising and delightful, Swarmer’s voice and personality radiate more intimately from the stage to the audience with the electronic fence removed. All evening, and with all the singers, we hear the inflections and tones of the voices so directly it feels they are singing to each of us, and we’re all enjoying the connection. 

A steamy or funny mood for the duets from musicals and movies are created on the spot by these pros, who walk on the stage, cue quickly to Greer’s excellent orchestration, and launch into a love song. Christopher J. Deaton and Kristen Lassiter are shy, then passionate singing “Only Make Believe” from Hammerstein and Kern’s 1927 Show Boat. In the second act, Swarner and full-voiced mezzo Felecia Benton turn up the heat in “Baby It’s Cold Outside” from Frank Loesser’s 1948 Neptune’s Daughter.

Andy Baldwin, a strong singer and endearing comic, had the audience cheering and applauding with his hip-swiveling, soft-shoe rendition of “Ballin’ the Jack” from Burris and Smith’s Ziegfeld Follies (1913). Later, Baldwin, in black and white saddle oxfords and a striped suit, winks at an audience member in a front row seat and sings “Yessir, That’s My Baby,” a Kahn and Donaldson hit from 1925. Baldwin cracks old jokes about criminal in-laws and sudden telegrams from 1920s radio shows with a fresh, smarty-pants delivery. Both romantic songs and comedy numbers remind us of how innocent we were in that era. Children, flirting with our honeys and laughing at sweet, silly jokes.

Flexing girl power and a svelte, alluring figure is Daron Cockerell in a silver lamé gown ringing memory bells with “The Trolley Song” from Martin and Blane’s 1944 Meet Me in St. Louis. Lassiter is a rapture to behold in her delicately phrased “Alice Blue Gown” from McCarthy and Tierney’s 1927 Broadway hit Irene. Christine Cornish Smith sings a seductive “Always True to You” from Cole Porter’s 1948 Kiss Me, Kate. Her lithe, high-kicking dancing gets mid-performance applause and hoozahs.

Featured star Clawson’s voice was clear but thin singing “Over the Rainbow “(Harburg and Arlen’s 1939 The Wizard of Oz) and “You’ll Never Walk Alone” (Rodgers and Hammerstein’s 1945 Carousel). The gospel artist was most compelling in her rapt and touching rendition of “Nearer My God to Thee,” accompanied by Greer on accordion and joining her as alto in a moving duet.

Swarner and company close the first act with a joyous “Let’s Go Fly a Kite,” from Sherman and Sherman’s 1964 Mary Poppins. Two dozen songs later, everybody gathers round the piano and sings a cheery Christmas medley.

For the closing finale, audience-pet Andy Baldwin leads the company with a wistful “Thanks for the Memory,” from Robin and Rainger’s 1938 The Big Broadcast.

Right back atcha, you sweet, sentimental, wildly talented bunch, you. Thanks For Reading





Dates, Prices, & Other Details

Comment on this Article

Share this article on Social Media
Click or Swipe to close
Remember When
Lyric Stage and special guest Cynthia Clawson celebrate the Majestic Theatre's history with an un-miked concert.
by Martha Heimberg

Share this article on Facebook
Tweet this article
Share this article on Google+
Share this article via email
Theatre Three Dallas Theatre Center Watertower Granville Titus Artsong The Little Matchgirl Passion Noel Marley The Glass Menagerie CCBT The Nutcracker Shimmer and Shine Garland Symphony Orchestra MCL Grand The Ten Tenors Cliburn Holiday Concert Package Black Nativity Undermain Theatre Uptown Players MCL Grand Dallas Symphony Riders in the Sky KD Studios White Christmas UNT College of Music Open Classicial Melinda Massie Theatre Three Dallas Theatre Center Watertower Granville Titus Artsong The Little Matchgirl Passion Noel Marley The Glass Menagerie CCBT The Nutcracker Shimmer and Shine Garland Symphony Orchestra MCL Grand The Ten Tenors Cliburn Holiday Concert Package Black Nativity Undermain Theatre Uptown Players MCL Grand Dallas Symphony Riders in the Sky KD Studios White Christmas UNT College of Music Open Classicial Melinda Massie Theatre Three Dallas Theatre Center Watertower Granville Titus Artsong The Little Matchgirl Passion Noel Marley The Glass Menagerie CCBT The Nutcracker Shimmer and Shine Garland Symphony Orchestra MCL Grand The Ten Tenors Cliburn Holiday Concert Package Black Nativity Undermain Theatre Uptown Players MCL Grand Dallas Symphony Riders in the Sky KD Studios White Christmas UNT College of Music Open Classicial Melinda Massie Theatre Three Dallas Theatre Center Watertower Granville Titus Artsong The Little Matchgirl Passion Noel Marley The Glass Menagerie CCBT The Nutcracker Shimmer and Shine Garland Symphony Orchestra MCL Grand The Ten Tenors Cliburn Holiday Concert Package Black Nativity Undermain Theatre Uptown Players MCL Grand Dallas Symphony Riders in the Sky KD Studios White Christmas UNT College of Music Open Classicial Melinda Massie Theatre Three Dallas Theatre Center Watertower Granville Titus Artsong The Little Matchgirl Passion Noel Marley The Glass Menagerie CCBT The Nutcracker Shimmer and Shine Garland Symphony Orchestra MCL Grand The Ten Tenors Cliburn Holiday Concert Package Black Nativity Undermain Theatre Uptown Players MCL Grand Dallas Symphony Riders in the Sky KD Studios White Christmas UNT College of Music Open Classicial Melinda Massie Theatre Three Dallas Theatre Center Watertower Granville Titus Artsong The Little Matchgirl Passion Noel Marley The Glass Menagerie CCBT The Nutcracker Shimmer and Shine Garland Symphony Orchestra MCL Grand The Ten Tenors Cliburn Holiday Concert Package Black Nativity Undermain Theatre Uptown Players MCL Grand Dallas Symphony Riders in the Sky KD Studios White Christmas UNT College of Music Open Classicial Melinda Massie Theatre Three Dallas Theatre Center Watertower Granville Titus Artsong The Little Matchgirl Passion Noel Marley The Glass Menagerie CCBT The Nutcracker Shimmer and Shine Garland Symphony Orchestra MCL Grand The Ten Tenors Cliburn Holiday Concert Package Black Nativity Undermain Theatre Uptown Players MCL Grand Dallas Symphony Riders in the Sky KD Studios White Christmas UNT College of Music Open Classicial Melinda Massie Theatre Three Dallas Theatre Center Watertower Granville Titus Artsong The Little Matchgirl Passion Noel Marley The Glass Menagerie CCBT The Nutcracker Shimmer and Shine Garland Symphony Orchestra MCL Grand The Ten Tenors Cliburn Holiday Concert Package Black Nativity Undermain Theatre Uptown Players MCL Grand Dallas Symphony Riders in the Sky KD Studios White Christmas UNT College of Music Open Classicial Melinda Massie Theatre Three Dallas Theatre Center Watertower Granville Titus Artsong The Little Matchgirl Passion Noel Marley The Glass Menagerie CCBT The Nutcracker Shimmer and Shine Garland Symphony Orchestra MCL Grand The Ten Tenors Cliburn Holiday Concert Package Black Nativity Undermain Theatre Uptown Players MCL Grand Dallas Symphony Riders in the Sky KD Studios White Christmas UNT College of Music Open Classicial Melinda Massie Theatre Three Dallas Theatre Center Watertower Granville Titus Artsong The Little Matchgirl Passion Noel Marley The Glass Menagerie CCBT The Nutcracker Shimmer and Shine Garland Symphony Orchestra MCL Grand The Ten Tenors Cliburn Holiday Concert Package Black Nativity Undermain Theatre Uptown Players MCL Grand Dallas Symphony Riders in the Sky KD Studios White Christmas UNT College of Music Open Classicial Melinda Massie Theatre Three Dallas Theatre Center Watertower Granville Titus Artsong The Little Matchgirl Passion Noel Marley The Glass Menagerie CCBT The Nutcracker Shimmer and Shine Garland Symphony Orchestra MCL Grand The Ten Tenors Cliburn Holiday Concert Package Black Nativity Undermain Theatre Uptown Players MCL Grand Dallas Symphony Riders in the Sky KD Studios White Christmas UNT College of Music Open Classicial Melinda Massie Theatre Three Dallas Theatre Center Watertower Granville Titus Artsong The Little Matchgirl Passion Noel Marley The Glass Menagerie CCBT The Nutcracker Shimmer and Shine Garland Symphony Orchestra MCL Grand The Ten Tenors Cliburn Holiday Concert Package Black Nativity Undermain Theatre Uptown Players MCL Grand Dallas Symphony Riders in the Sky KD Studios White Christmas UNT College of Music Open Classicial Melinda Massie Theatre Three Dallas Theatre Center Watertower Granville Titus Artsong The Little Matchgirl Passion Noel Marley The Glass Menagerie CCBT The Nutcracker Shimmer and Shine Garland Symphony Orchestra MCL Grand The Ten Tenors Cliburn Holiday Concert Package Black Nativity Undermain Theatre Uptown Players MCL Grand Dallas Symphony Riders in the Sky KD Studios White Christmas UNT College of Music Open Classicial Melinda Massie Theatre Three Dallas Theatre Center Watertower Granville Titus Artsong The Little Matchgirl Passion Noel Marley The Glass Menagerie CCBT The Nutcracker Shimmer and Shine Garland Symphony Orchestra MCL Grand The Ten Tenors Cliburn Holiday Concert Package Black Nativity Undermain Theatre Uptown Players MCL Grand Dallas Symphony Riders in the Sky KD Studios White Christmas UNT College of Music Open Classicial Melinda Massie Theatre Three Dallas Theatre Center Watertower Granville Titus Artsong The Little Matchgirl Passion Noel Marley The Glass Menagerie CCBT The Nutcracker Shimmer and Shine Garland Symphony Orchestra MCL Grand The Ten Tenors Cliburn Holiday Concert Package Black Nativity Undermain Theatre Uptown Players MCL Grand Dallas Symphony Riders in the Sky KD Studios White Christmas UNT College of Music Open Classicial Melinda Massie Theatre Three Dallas Theatre Center Watertower Granville Titus Artsong The Little Matchgirl Passion Noel Marley The Glass Menagerie CCBT The Nutcracker Shimmer and Shine Garland Symphony Orchestra MCL Grand The Ten Tenors Cliburn Holiday Concert Package Black Nativity Undermain Theatre Uptown Players MCL Grand Dallas Symphony Riders in the Sky KD Studios White Christmas UNT College of Music Open Classicial Melinda Massie Theatre Three Dallas Theatre Center Watertower Granville Titus Artsong The Little Matchgirl Passion Noel Marley The Glass Menagerie CCBT The Nutcracker Shimmer and Shine Garland Symphony Orchestra MCL Grand The Ten Tenors Cliburn Holiday Concert Package Black Nativity Undermain Theatre Uptown Players MCL Grand Dallas Symphony Riders in the Sky KD Studios White Christmas UNT College of Music Open Classicial Melinda Massie Theatre Three Dallas Theatre Center Watertower Granville Titus Artsong The Little Matchgirl Passion Noel Marley The Glass Menagerie CCBT The Nutcracker Shimmer and Shine Garland Symphony Orchestra MCL Grand The Ten Tenors Cliburn Holiday Concert Package Black Nativity Undermain Theatre Uptown Players MCL Grand Dallas Symphony Riders in the Sky KD Studios White Christmas UNT College of Music Open Classicial Melinda Massie Theatre Three Dallas Theatre Center Watertower Granville Titus Artsong The Little Matchgirl Passion Noel Marley The Glass Menagerie CCBT The Nutcracker Shimmer and Shine Garland Symphony Orchestra MCL Grand The Ten Tenors Cliburn Holiday Concert Package Black Nativity Undermain Theatre Uptown Players MCL Grand Dallas Symphony Riders in the Sky KD Studios White Christmas UNT College of Music Open Classicial Melinda Massie Theatre Three Dallas Theatre Center Watertower Granville Titus Artsong The Little Matchgirl Passion Noel Marley The Glass Menagerie CCBT The Nutcracker Shimmer and Shine Garland Symphony Orchestra MCL Grand The Ten Tenors Cliburn Holiday Concert Package Black Nativity Undermain Theatre Uptown Players MCL Grand Dallas Symphony Riders in the Sky KD Studios White Christmas UNT College of Music Open Classicial Melinda Massie
Click or Swipe to close
reviews
views on theater, dance, classical music, opera and comedy performances
news & notes
reports from the local performing arts scene
features & interviews
who and what are moving and shaking in the performing arts scene
season announcements
keep up with the arts groups' upcoming seasons
audiocasts
listen to interviews with people in the local performing arts scene
media reviews
reviews and stories on performing arts-related film, TV, recordings and books
arts organizations
learn more about the local producing and presenting arts groups
performance venues
learn more about the theaters and spaces where the arts happen
contests
keep up with fabulous ticket giveaways and other promotions
crowdfunding
connect to local arts crowdfunding campaigns
studio
post or view auditions and performing arts-related classes, services, jobs and more
about us
info on TheaterJones, our staff, what we do and how to contact us
Click or Swipe to close
First Name:
Last Name:
Date of Birth:
ZIP Code:
Your Email Address:
Click or Swipe to close
Join TheaterJones Around the Web



Follow Us on Twitter

Subscribe to our Youtube Channel

Click or Swipe to close
Search the TheaterJones Archives
Use any or all of the options below to search through all of reviews, interviews, features and special sections. If you are looking for a an event, use the calendar section of this website. This search will not search through the calendar.
Article Title Search:


Description Search:
TheaterJones Contributor:


TheaterJones Section:


Category:
Showing on or after:      Showing on or before:  
Search
Click or Swipe to close
We welcome your comments

I am discussing:  



Your Name:
Your Email Adress:


please enter the text below and then click or tap SUBMIT :
Submit