Springfield Contemporary Theatre at SCT Center Stage in Wilhoit Plaza (corner of Pershing and Robberson downtown) opens its 2018-19 season TONIGHT (Fri June 8) with "A Grand Night for Singing," a musical revue featuring songs by two of musical theatre's greatest songwriters, Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II, who created some of the most romantic music in the Great American Songbook. Behind the plots, characters, carnivals and surreys with the fringe on top are beautiful stories about people falling in – and out – of love.
The creators of this Tony-nominated show provide producers and theater companies a lot of leeway. Since this is not the traditional “book” musical (a full storyline interspersed with musical numbers), but rather more of a revue, it can take all kinds of approaches—anything from stand-and-sing (or park-and-bark if you prefer) to something far more elaborate.
Assistant Director and Choreographer Vince Miller notes that the show, which includes classic songs from R&H shows like “Oklahoma,” “The King and I” and “South Pacific,” utilizes “five really incredible performers—all local, of course—and we string along a nice little story of love and what comes along with that in relationships.” Adds performer Erin Scheibe, “it’s a wonderful opportunity to show the different facets of love.” She says the show includes a good proportion of songs you may not be familiar with, from a few Rodgers & Hammerstein shows that weren’t major Broadway or movie hits “but have beautiful songs in them.”
“It’s crazy,” says Vince Miller, “how still relevant” so many of these Rodgers & Hammerstein song are today, despite being “written years and years ago.” At the same time, adds Erin Scheibe, the music’s timelessness is due in part to the creators being unafraid “to tackle serious issues. Honestly, we touch on many of those themes within ‘A Grand Night for Singing’”—including unrequited love, and even one song that seems to touch on an abusive relationship. “You leave their shows thinking about those themes, but you don’t leave completely destroyed by them either,” adds Scheibe.
In addition to Erin Scheibe the cast includes Lavelle Johnston, James Brandon Martin, Charlie McCoy and Darby Vincent. Alex Huff stage directs and conducts a five-piece ensemble.
Performances are Thurs-Sat at 7:30pm and Sunday at 2:00pm June 8-24. Tickets are $12-$30 and available at 831-8001 or at www.springfieldcontemporarytheatre.org.