Chicago Theatre Review
Play it again, Marvin
Play it Again Marvin – Ravinia
On a gorgeous Sunday evening, July 26th, Ravinia hosted a wonderful celebration to a true musical genius and legend, Marvin Hamlisch. His incredible body of work is truly impressive and has been the soundtrack for most of our lives. From musicals to movies, just about everyone has heard a song written by the great composer, most times not even realizing that Marvin Hamlisch was the simple man behind such complex and beautiful melodies. The presence of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra conducted by David Alan Miller, was a spectacular accompaniment to the songs and images projected on the large video screens in the pavilion.
The host and pianist for the evening, Kevin Cole who returned to Ravinia for his tenth season, brilliantly played a variety of Hamlisch tunes from all of Marvin’s most popular pieces from stage and screen. Cole has had a long and lengthy career with Hamlisch and spoke to the audience at times reflecting on his professional and personal relationship with the artist. Marvin’s funny sense of humor, love of food and incredible work ethic to produce music for many of Hamlisch’s various projects.
The stage was also shared by three very talented vocalists, Maria Friedman, Sylvia McNair and Jeremy Hays. They all were spectacular alternating between songs individually and as a collaborative team. Friedman and McNair each took a moment to speak about the deep influence and professional and personal relationship they experienced with Marvin throughout own careers and were thankful for their employment from one the busiest composers of our time.
Marvin Hamlisch was one of only twelve people to ever win an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony. His wife Terre Blair Hamlisch was in attendance and spoke briefly about her life with the great composer. Marvin was the primary conductor for the Pittsburgh Pops from 1995 till his death in 2012. At his memorial service, Barbara Streisand, Aretha Franklin and Liza Minelli took turns singing songs written by Hamlisch, known for writing some of the best loved and most enduring songs and scores in movie history. His music will live on forever immortalized in film and theatre. It was a truly special night at Ravinia, as every night seems to be there.
Reviewed by Joseph Paul