Local fans of Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart--who produced some of the most gorgeous melodies of the 20th century--are in for a treat. On June 1, South Bay Musical Theatre will present a tribute to composer Rodgers and lyricist Hart, starring 18 singers who have all appeared in SBMT productions. Joining the ensemble will be guest artist Kathryn Crosby, the Hollywood starlet who became the second wife of crooner and Oscar-winning actor Bing Crosby.
The 7:30 p.m. concert takes place at the Saratoga Civic Theater, 13777 Fruitvale Ave., featuring selections from the Rodgers and Hart canon. Music director Bob Sunshine will conduct a four-person combo.
Rodgers and Hart collaborated on 28 stage musicals and a half dozen films during their partnership. The alliance began in 1919 when they worked on a show as students at Columbia University. From then until Hart died in 1943, the duo was responsible for Broadway classics like Pal Joey, Babes in Arms, A Connecticut Yankee and On Your Toes.
Rodgers and Hart churned out in excess of 500 songs, among them "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered," "The Lady is a Tramp" and "Blue Moon." If the pair had written just one of these gems and none other, that would have been enough to gain them lasting fame.
Despite Crosby's early career as an actress pretty much ending once she and Bing wed in 1957, she is no stranger to musicals. In 1996 she appeared in a Broadway production of Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein's State Fair.
Three years later, the mom of three (including daughter Mary of "Who Shot J.R. Ewing?" fame) attended a South Bay Musical Theatre production of State Fair.
According to C. Michael Traw, who has produced shows for SBMT, Crosby has liked the company ever since.
It was Traw who had the bright idea of asking Crosby, 80, to take part in this Rodgers and Hart salute. She "was so delighted that I asked her to sing with all of us," he says, "and we are so thrilled that she accepted our invitation."
Tickets are $33 general admission, $31 seniors, $20 students and children under 12. Available atsouthbaymt.com or 408.266.4734.
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