'Jerry's Girls' offers best of Broadway

April 28, 1995|By Phil Greenfield | Phil Greenfield,Special to the Sun

Jerry Herman has composed some of the greatest Broadway shows of them all, among them the blockbusters "Hello, Dolly!" and "Mame," and the lesser hits "Milk and Honey" and "Dear World."

The most memorable songs in those shows were written for or about his female characters, who were portrayed by such performers as Barbra Streisand, Angela Lansbury and Carol Channing.

So it is no surprise that these magnetic songs have been fashioned into a revue titled "Jerry's Girls," now onstage at the Chesapeake Music Hall of Annapolis. It is a colorful, fast-paced program poised to become the hit of the spring.

And just who are Jerry's latest flames?

The comedian of the bunch is the hilarious Christine Asero.

Whether she comes on to blast her man in "Wherever He Ain't," croaks out "The Man In the Moon Is A Lady" or cries the blues as Gooch, the wayward nanny from "Mame," she is a riot.

She also is a classy hoofer who leads her colleagues through some charming dance numbers.

The balladeer is the lovely Eloise Ullman, who, more than the other three, gets to sing straight from the heart and connect with her audience in such Herman classics as "Before the Parade Passes By" and "I Want to Know."

The swing player is the remarkably versatile Sue Centurelli, who contributes to many duets and trios, adds a lovely solo or two and elicits some of the show's biggest laughs as an unbalanced stripper in a vaudeville sequence and in a riotous duet with a fellow who turns out to be a dummy.

Sue Bell is the ingenue of the group, whose bright, flirty soprano voice is put to excellent use in songs such as "It Only Takes a Moment" and "So Long Dearie."

But the revue is more than a succession of songs. Costumes are stylish and colorful, all four women know how to move (especially Miss Asero), and many numbers are as much comedy sketches as they are songs.

There also is plenty of that wonderfully spontaneous onstage patter that can come about only among people who truly love what they're doing.

Even though it is early in the run, technical aspects of the show are running smoothly. Pianist Sandy Griese accompanies with great sensitivity.

The lighting could use some improvement, however. The Music Hall, off U.S. 50 on Busch's Frontage Road, is offering a discount for Mothers' Day.

For $18.95 per person, you can treat Mom on her special day.

The production will continue Thursday through Sunday evenings with Sunday matinees through June 11.

Call 626-7515 for reservations.

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