GRACE NOTES Review
Gifts of Love: The Words and Music of Stephen Schwartz
by Marc Mantell for GRACE NOTES, Feb. 10, 2013
Gifts of Love was a sensational cabaret concert to benefit the musical theatre program at Summit View School. Producer Dianne Fraser and associate producer Adryan Russ should feel proud of their accomplishment in putting together such a well paced, thoroughly tuneful and entertaining show. Emmy Award nominated actress Carolyn Hennesy was the perfect Mistress of Ceremonies. With her attractive persona and a dry wit, she presented notes on the assorted songs and the musicals they were from. This benefit proved to be a great introduction for a new audience to learn about composer Stephen Schwartz and his contribution to musical theatre.
The Lighting and Sound Design were technically perfect. The band: Mitch Kaplan, Scott D. Olsen. Valerie Taylor and Denise Fraser….the best! The arrangements, orchestrations of numbers like “Meadowlark” and “Rags,” were first rate. This group of musical artists was a gift for both the performers and audience!
As for the lineup of Mr. Schwartz’s memorable numbers, they covered the bases from his premiere musical Godspell to his current mega hit, Wicked. And to match the excitement, depth and emotional context of each — this concert had a cast of wonderful performers to do them justice. Everyone had a chance to shine brightly and here they are: Terron Brooks, Palmer Davis, Julie Garnye, Dan Callaway, Juliana Hansen, Joanne O’Brien, Dennis Kyle, Louise Marie Cornillez, Tal Fox, Kelly Lester, James C. Mulligan, with Dianne Fraser and Mitch Kaplan who also performed…. Bravo!
The 3rd annual benefit concert fundraiser for Summit View School’s Musical Theatre program was another Brad Ellis & Friends at the Catalina Jazz Club in Hollywood. Headliner Brad Ellis was joined by Eydie Alyson, Emily Bergl, Dianne Fraser, Julie Garnye, Eammon McCrystal, Michael A. Shepperd and Bill A. Jones who also hosted.
Tribute concert in memory of singer Michelle Nicastro as a benefit for the Northwestern University Musical Theatre Scholarship in her name. Featuring Musical Director Scott Harlan, Adryan Russ, Jason Graae, Dianne Fraser, Shelly Goldstein, Karen Fineman Roberts, John Vincent Mahady, Guy Haines, Donna Cherry, Peisha McPhee & Cady Nicastro Stark.
Dianne performed for the “I Have a Dream Foundation” December 3rd.
In celebration of the inspiring work done by the “I Have A Dream Foundation”, Dianne Fraser will perform her hit Cabaret show “Part Time Diva” at the legendary Cinegrill in the world famous Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel on Thursday, Dec. 3. This funny and charming one woman nightclub show has recently been playing to Sold Out audiences and Standing ovations. All profits from the evening will go to support the mission of the “I Have A Dream Foundation” – helping children become productive citizens through academic enhancement, mentoring, cultural enrichment, and an assured opportunity for higher education.
Musical Direction by Brad Ellis. Special Material by Jeff Cohn.