Dallas — If you’ve ever wanted to know what a cocktail party populated by musical theater fanatics would be like, go see Imagine Broadway at Theatre Three, a one-weekend revue serving as a T3 benefit. There, onlookers are transported to a swanky apartment with modern furnishings, a grand piano with its own excellent pianist and the partygoers’ musical director (Mark Mullino), and two men and two women who spend the night singing showtunes.
It is a fun conceit that mostly works and propels the night along. A core part of the humor is that these characters are getting liquored up and enjoying each other’s singing, which leads to occasional upstaging.
The party starts with “A Grand Night for Singing” by Rodgers and Hammerstein. Quintin Jones impresses with “Corner of the Sky” (from Pippin), showing off his range. Not to be outdone, Blake Hackler belts out “The Lady’s Improving” from The Prom. This revue has a nice mix of canonical and newer songs.
Cherish Robinson, who recently played Deloris Van Cartier in WaterTower Theatre’s Sister Act, sashays in with “Popular” from Wicked, proving that being blonde is not a requirement for popularity. Next comes a medley of Jerome Kern songs, “The Way You Look Tonight” (the film Swing Time) and “Can’t Help Lovin’ Dat Man of Mine” from Show Boat. They round out the first act with “96,000” from In the Heights. I won’t give away the punchline for this choice other than to say it’s about men getting older.
An ongoing joke about being in a fancy apartment with smart assistant Alexa executing lighting cues is clever. Marisa Diotalevi shines while signing “You Gotta Have a Gimmick” (Gypsy) and dancing with a lamp. In this number, Jones rolls out a lighting fixture so old I didn’t recognize it.
Each cast member gets their moment in the literal spotlight in this song. Jones and Robinson have a soaring duet with “Move On” from Sunday in the Park with George; and Diotalevi and Hackler have an amusing duet with “Stud and a Babe” from I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change, a revuesical that ran for many years in Theatre Three’s basement space, Theatre Too!
I was delighted to see Robinson sing a simple and lovely song that was cut from Once on This Island, called “Come Down from the Tree.” The ongoing drinking leads Diotalevi to belt out the Sondheim showstopper “The Ladies Who Lunch” (from Company) which she devours, relishing every line from a much-quoted song.
Musical director Mullino brings out the best in each of the four accomplished singers, and director Michael Serrecchia keeps the shindig moving along faster than some can knock back martinis after a bad day at work. They close the party with a rousing tribute to the city that made showtunes possible, Kander and Ebb’s “New York, New York.”
If a night of such tunes sounds like a perfect date, head over to Theater Three and have one for Mahler! — or Sondheim. But you only have one more chance, Saturday night.