Toby’s Dinner Theatre I Left my Heart – A Salute to the Music of Tony BennettBy Jennifer Gusso • Feb 22nd, 2011 • Category: Reviews
Toby’s Dinner Theatre
Toby’s Dinner Theater, Columbia, MD
Through March 6th
1:50 with 30-minute intermission
Reviewed February 19th, 2011
I Left My Heart is basically a concert version of many of the famous songs from the Tony Bennett songbook that are linked together in medleys and with a few interchanges between the actors including a few comical moments. Overall, it is an enjoyable little cabaret, but it is not nearly worth the same billing or cost as an actual two-act book musical. Unlike some jukebox musicals, this production does not attempt to be more than a simple cabaret experience. It is significantly shorter than a regular musical and lacks the full experience of having a rich plotline. The best way for Toby’s to have expanded this production and made it more interesting and engaging would have been to add background dancers and choreography to give a little more spectacle to the performance.
The three gentlemen in the production were very good. Chris Rudy was the most impressive of the trio. He came across as likeable and warm, and he had a unique and yet crooner-appropriate tone quality to his beautiful vocals. Kevin McAllister was cool and confident with warm, soulful vocals and a great jazz riff. Lawrence B. Munsey had a good and powerful voice but tended to come across cocky and arrogant and was not nearly as appealing as the other two gentlemen.
The orchestra was very impressive. There was really no set beside one platform, but the lack of set was appropriate to the cabaret-style of the show. An excellent addition was the use of screens to project images of Tony Bennett and his career. The lighting design was good. Different colors and specials were used to light different portions of the staging area and to set the mood. The costumes were also nice. The three men continually looked sharp in their matching progression of suits.
Overall, this was well-done, but there was nothing about it that was really incredible or that blew away the audience. It was just not quite the level of the “wow” that one expects to see when going out for the dinner theatre experience.
- Kevin McAllister
- Lawrence B. Munsey
- Chris Rudy
- Swings: Conrad Buck and Chad Fornwalt
- Director/Choreographer: Debra Buonaccorsi
- Musical Director: Douglas Lawler
- Set Designer: David A. Hopkins
- Costume Designer: Samn Huffer
- Lighting Designer: Coleen M. Foley
- Sound Designer: Drew Dedrick
- Production Manager: Vickie S. Johnson
- Production Stage Manager: Kate Wackerle
- Stage Managers: Drew Dedrick, Kate Wackerle
- Technical Director/Master Electrician: Jimmy Engelkemier
- Master Carpenter: Jason Krznarich
- Set Construction: Corey Brown, Jason Krznarich, Russell Sunday
- Properties & Set Dressing: Amy Kaplan, Kate Wackerle
- Light Board Operators: Cheryl Hale, Coleen M. Foley, Erin MacDonald
- Sound Operators: Corey Brown, Drew Dedrick
- Conductor/Keyboard I: Douglas Lawler
- Bass: Frank Higgins
- Drums: Tom Harold
- Trumpet: Tony Neenan
Disclaimer: Toby’s Dinner Theatre provided two complimentary media tickets to ShowBizRadio for this review.
This article can be linked to as: http://washingtondc.showbizradio.com/goto/6216.
Jennifer Gusso has been involved in theatre in the state of Maryland and DC for most of her life. She has acted, directed, choreographed, stage managed, and held a million other odd jobs. She has a B.S. in English from Towson University, and is currently pursuing her Master's Degree to become a Reading Specialist. She is a Maryland State Certified English, Theatre, Elementary, and Mathematics Educator. After teaching English and Drama for many years, she now teaches 6th grade Language Arts at Magnolia Middle School in Harford County, Maryland. She wrote the curriculum currently used in Prince George’s County Public Schools for Drama I and Drama II. She now writes and directs plays and musical for use in church.