Photo by Travis NodurftThe Scene on Stage: August is a month of music and more posted on 07/31/2017
The audience at Clackamas Repertory Theatre’s (CRT) August
production of “The Melody Lingers On” is sure to recognize some of the featured
music written by Irving Berlin, even if they didn’t realize he’s behind the
tune. Berlin wrote more than 1,500 songs in his life, with some of the more
popular including “White Christmas,” “God Bless America,” “Puttin’ on the Ritz”
and songs for the musical “Annie Get Your Gun,” including “No Business Like
“It’s one of those
shows that I think people are going to be dancing out of the theater,” said the
director, David Smith-English, noting the show includes 46 of Berlin’s songs.
The production also offers some stories of the man behind
all the music, with some pithy dialogue between songs about Berlin and the
significant moments of his life. Smith-English added he wasn’t too familiar
with Berlin until he saw a one man show at Portland Center Stage last year,
which featured some of the same stories presented in “The Melody Lingers On.”
“The show kind of works through Irving Berlin’s life and
gives you insights into where these songs came from, why he was writing them
and what was happening in his life that was so personal,” Smith-English said.
Berlin arrived in America when he was five years old after
his family fled Eastern Europe and the persecution of Jews at the time. He grew
up in Brooklyn, but never had any formal training despite his success in the
music industry. He served as an entertainer for troops during both World War I
and World War II and displayed a strong sense of patriotism that Smith-English
“In my sense of thinking, it’s the finest kind of
patriotism, because he loved what the country gave him, the opportunity it gave
him,” he said. “He loved the people; he wanted to bring people together. He
wasn’t beating people up, but bringing together.”
Smith-English noted that Berlin was concerned about
religious persecution and racism, adding that Berlin brought the first black
woman to a Broadway stage with Ethel Waters singing in “Suppertime” about a
wife who had just learned her husband had been lynched.
“It’s a pretty moving piece,” Smith-English said. “These are
some of the things that are revealed in the show as you go along. He is
The show features five men and five women who are some
renowned singers, including Mont Chris Hubbard, Susannah Mars, Merideth Kaye
Clark, LaRhonda Steele and Don Kenneth Mason, choreography by Wesley “Angel”
Hanson and a six-piece band directed by Lars Campbell.
“I think it’s a show that people are really going to enjoy,”
CRT presents “Irving Berlin’s The Melody Lingers On,”
directed by David Smith-English, from Thursday, Aug. 3 through Sunday, Aug. 27,
at the Niemeyer Center on the Oregon City campus of Clackamas Community
College, 19600 Molalla Avenue in Oregon City. Show times are 7:30 p.m. on
Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and 2:30 p.m. on Sunday. Ticket prices are from
$20-$36. For more information, visit clackamasrep.org or call 503-594-6047.
Sandy Summer Sounds and Starlight Cinema continues a summer
of free entertainment with a final performance for the Sunday Sounds at 6:30
p.m. Sunday, Aug. 6, at the Theater in the Woods in Sandy’s Meinig Park, 17670
Meinig Avenue, featuring the Talbott Brothers, an alternative folk-rock duo.
Meanwhile, Wednesday Sounds kick off with the Sandy Hops
& Blues Festival from 5:30-9:30 Wednesday, Aug. 2 at the Dale Nichols Main
Stage in Meinig Park. The event features Hillstomp, an American punk blues duo,
and Too Slim and the Taildraggers, a “whiskey” blues band, and the audience can
bring a picnic or purchase food from Busy Bee Catering and Red Shed.
Wednesday Sounds will continue each week in August, with
concerts from 6:30-8:30 p.m. featuring country/folk music from Kory Quinn &
The Quinntessentials on Aug. 9, funk/soul/rock guitar player Scott Pemberton on
Aug. 16, choral pop by Uplifting on Aug. 23 and Latin band Pura Vida Orquestra
on Aug. 30.
The Starlight Cinema will offer family friendly movies at
the Dale Nichols Main Stage every Saturday in August, starting at dusk.
Audience members can bring a blanket or some lawn chairs. Movies include
“Moana” on Aug. 5, “Lego Batman” on Aug. 12, “Pete’s Dragon” on Aug. 19 and “A
Dog’s Purpose” on Aug. 26.
In case of rain, concerts will move to the Sandy Community
Center, 38348 Pioneer Blvd., while festivals and movies will go on as planned
(bring a raincoat or an umbrella).
For more information on Sandy Summer Sounds and Starlight
Cinema, visit http://www.ci.sandy.or.us/Sandy-Summer-Sounds-Starlight-Cinema/
By Garth Guibord/MT