Gershwin at the Piano | Theater | Indy Week
Pin It

Gershwin at the Piano 

Gershwin at the Piano isn't as memorable a theatrical endeavor as its prededecessor, the Art Tatum tribute Piano Starts Here. Forced to resort to a Plan B after another company cancelled its Sunday matinee, I crept into Raleigh Little Theatre 20 minutes into the performance and witnessed an urbane multimedia guided tour through a series of piano transcripts George Gershwin wrote and recorded of his own music. These were played first by a live pianist on a grand piano (Sunday afternoon, a cordial Phil Amalong), and then "re-performed" through Zenph's proprietary musical software and hardware, which reproduced the composer's original performance of the work in real time on the same piano.

The show's host, music scholar Milton Laufer, regaled us with anecdotes, briefly illuminating various high points in Gershwin's career. It wasn't enough to make the show a full biography, but it did serve to punctuate the songs.

Given the Jazz Age genius' predilection for embellishment and improvisation in his live performances, we might conclude that any back-and-forth trade between a live pianist limited to paper transcripts and their creator's mercurial variations might easily favor, as it were, the original cast. But Amalong more than held his own, breathing into works like "My One and Only" considerable expression, showmanship and taste. Recommended—particularly for fans of Gershwin and old-school jazz.

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Theater



Twitter Activity

Comments

your 20 sept review of playmakers current offering missed the boat, big time. the play portrayed all the characters as …

by Pointyhead on The Cake Edits Reality to Ignore the Everyday Consequences of Bible Belt Homophobia (Theater)

Oh, I'd be amused even without the in-jokes. These folks are having a great time, and the setting is transportive. …

by needsomeokra on Wants Upon a Time Is a Commedia Dell'arte Interrogation of What Happily Ever After Really Means (Theater)

Most Recent Comments

your 20 sept review of playmakers current offering missed the boat, big time. the play portrayed all the characters as …

by Pointyhead on The Cake Edits Reality to Ignore the Everyday Consequences of Bible Belt Homophobia (Theater)

Oh, I'd be amused even without the in-jokes. These folks are having a great time, and the setting is transportive. …

by needsomeokra on Wants Upon a Time Is a Commedia Dell'arte Interrogation of What Happily Ever After Really Means (Theater)

The photo credit is incorrect. The photo was taken and edited by Areon Mobasher for Burning Coal Theatre Company. Please …

by Areon Mobasher on The Greeks Streamlines Sophocles’s Theban Trilogy Into Three Nimble, Strikingly Modern One-Acts (Theater)

I'm wondering why Dorfman specifically chose the Death and the Maiden quartet - deriving from the song Der Tod und …

by trishmapow on Forgiving is not forgetting in Ariel Dorfman's Death and the Maiden (Theater)

© 2017 Indy Week • 320 E. Chapel Hill St., Suite 200, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation