Pittsburgh Post-Gazette – ‘Play It Again, Marvin!’ rekindles Hamlisch memories

A cleverly constructed script kept things moving with occasional vignettes, like a scene between a young Marvin and friend Eddie (Mr. Cole and Brian d’Arcy James) that evolved into a teenaged male version of “Sing” from “A Chorus Line.”

PITTSBURGH, PA – He’s been gone for over a year. But already we are realizing that there was no one quite like Marvin Hamlisch, such a singular conducting, composing, storytelling sensation that he stood alone in the pops firmament.

Terre Blair Hamlisch attended the world premiere of 'PLAY IT AGAIN, MARVIN!' produced by Kevin Cole with The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra

Terre Blair Hamlisch attended the world premiere of ‘PLAY IT AGAIN, MARVIN!’ produced by Kevin Cole with The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra

The tributes and accolades haven’t stopped. While New York City pulled out a string of Broadway, rock and film stars, most recently at a Public Theater gala, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra dealt with the personal side of the man who they set on his own starry Pops pathway, which gradually encompassed six orchestras.

It was as if the audience was rediscovering Hamlisch (the woman next to me was singing along with “Nobody Does It Better”) and loving it.

It was as if he was on a mission to keep the Great American Songbook front and center in people‘‍s minds. And along the way, he had plenty of entertaining stories to tell.

Now as “Play It Again, Marvin!” demonstrated at Heinz Hall on Saturday night, maybe we really didn’t know him at all.

Marvin Hamlisch (1944-2012)

Marvin Hamlisch (1944-2012)

Pianist Kevin Cole, who arranged the show and did a pretty fair imitation of Hamlisch, was our guide, surprisingly witty and enthusiastic with crisp renderings of a whole array of songs.

A cleverly constructed script kept things moving with occasional vignettes, like a scene between a young Marvin and friend Eddie (Mr. Cole and Brian d’Arcy James) that evolved into a teenaged male version of “Sing” from “A Chorus Line.”

While the first half established the history of the man making the music, it let Hamlisch and his music speak for itself in the second half of the program. There were a couple of film clips, particularly “They’re Playing Our Song,” showing a younger version of the maestro at the piano — with all the passion and energy pouring off the screen — in a stunning performance.

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RELATED CONTENT:

Review: New Hamlisch tribute has intimate feel — Kevin Cole’s “Play it Again, Marvin!”

WORLD PREMIERE! — The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Presented PLAY IT AGAIN, MARVIN! (6/28/2014)

Source: By Jane Vranish, Pittsburgh Post - Gazette


 

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