’I Only Have Eyes For You’ shines at Montalban Theatre

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STEP INTO OUR WORLD—Jared Gertner and Constantine Rousouli perform in “I Only Have Eyes For You,” now at the Montalban Theatre through June 12 Photo credit: Michael Lamont
TALENTED GROUP—Constantine Rousouli, from left, Nikki Bohne, Jared Gertner, Kayla Parker and Justin Michael Wilcox perform in “I Only Have Eyes For You.” The cast is uniformly talented, all with plenty of Broadway and touring credits. Photo credit: Michael Lamont

If you are a millennial, the names Al Dubin and Harry Warren probably won’t ring a bell. But if you are a Broadway baby of any age, you will be familiar with their musical collaboration on “42nd Street,” which won the Tony for Best Musical in 1981. The show is the 14th longest running show in Broadway history and from May 31 through June 19 “42nd Street” will be playing at the Pantages Theatre in all its glory.

If you are a millennial, the names Al Dubin and Harry Warren probably won’t ring a bell. But if you are a Broadway baby of any age, you will be familiar with their musical collaboration on “42nd Street,” which won the Tony for Best Musical in 1981. The show is the 14th longest running show in Broadway history and from May 31 through June 19 “42nd Street” will be playing at the Pantages Theatre in all its glory. Before you see “42nd Street” at the Pantages, check out “I Only Have Eyes For You: The Life and Lyrics of Al Dubin” currently at the Montalban Theatre through June 12.

This new musical, book by Jerry Leichtling and Arlene Sarner with lyrics and music by Al Dubin and Harry Warren, acquaints us not only with these two prominent men of music, but also with the legendary film director Busby Berkeley, an innovator who created lavish visual splendor on the big screen. While Berkeley created a look, Dubin and Warren’s songs created a sound and lyric style that defined the era–songs like “We’re in the Money,” “42nd Street,” “Shuffle Off to Buffalo,” “You’re Getting To Be a Habit With Me,” “About a Quarter to Nine” and their 1935 Academy Award winner, “Lullaby of Broadway.” Dubin and Warren also wrote “Boulevard of Broken Dreams,” “Lulu’s Back in Town” and “September in the Rain.”

Jared Gartner, best known for playing the zaney Elder Cunningham in “The Book of Mormon” on Broadway, plays Al Dubin, a wizard with words whose lyrics have been heard continuously in 600 films and television shows dating back to when he wrote for talking pictures in the late 1920s. In the ‘30s he teamed up with Harry Warren and they penned songs for movie musicals, most of which were directed by Busby Berkeley.  Dubin was a man gifted with great talent and personality, but he was also plagued by personal demons like excessive eating, drinking and drug use which affected not only his health, but his marriage as well.

The cast is uniformly talented, all with plenty of Broadway and touring credits. Nikki Bohne shines as Dubin’s devoted wife Helen, Valerie Perri plays his Mom and other roles, Renee Marino is Carmen Miranda and Kayla Parker taps her little heart out as Ruby Keeler. Jeffrey Scott Parsons taps with Kayla in several numbers and  Robert Pieranunzi plays Busby Berkeley. Elijah Rock belts out as Cab Calloway, Dominic Pierson plays William and dances in the ensemble, Justin Michael Wilcox sings as Al Jolson and Constantine Rousouli is Harry Warren.

The show is cleverly directed and choreographed by Kay Cole, with beautiful costumes of the period designed by Debra McGuire.

 

Gerald Sternbach, musical director/vocal and dance arrangements, conducts the outstanding band (piano, trumpets, trombone, woodwinds, cello, bass and drums.)  Their sound is amazing.  We stayed until every last note was played.

 

“I Only Have Eyes For You,” at the Montalban Theatre, 1615 Vine St. in Hollywood, runs through June 12.  For tickets and information, phone 1-323-461-6999 or go online: www.flavorus.com.  Performance schedule: Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at 8 pm, Saturdays at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m.

 

*****

DVD UPDATE:  One song lyric asks…”all the lonely people, where do they all come from?”   The answer could very well be New York City where countless singles live and work.  In “How to Be SIngle,” arriving on Blu-ray and DVD March 24, the focus is indeed on a group of New Yorkers and their search for a love connection or at least a hook-up or something in between.  The plot line zeros in on a group of singles — Alice, Robin, Lucy, Meg, Tom and David and stars Dakota Johnson, Rebel Wilson, Alison Brie and Leslie Mann.  As this group of unmarrieds sleeps around in the city that never sleeps, they try to come to grips with the ever-evolving definitions of love in a modern age.  The film is rated R for sexual content and strong language throughout.

The “How to Be Single” Blu-ray contains the following special features: The Pros and Cons of How To Be Single, Rebel Rabble: A Look at Rebel Wilson, Deleted Scenes and a Gag Reel.