Tuesday, March 6, 2012

QUICK TAKE REVIEW Classic All Singin’ All Talkin’ Baseball By Beverly Creasey

What comes to mind when you think of Boston? World class music? The Red Sox? What if you combined the music and the grand slams? A nation that loves baseball has memorialized the game in song since the 1800s.From Take Me out to the Ball Game to Where have you gone Joe DiMagio, we’ve celebrated the national pastime in song. No so for football…Not hockey….Not basketball…Not even golf!

Just about a month from today, Fenway Park will turn 100 years old. American Classics had the inspired idea to plan a concert called FABULOUS FENWAY around the event – and they had the genius to call the poet laureate of the Red Sox, Dick Flavin, to join them.

You may remember Flavin from his days as resident wag on WBZ-TV or you may know that his play about Tip O’Neill won the Independent Reviewers nod for best new play. With countless broadcasting awards and accolades for his witty “Round Table” writing, Flavin shows off his wry style – and considerable comic chops acting it out – in his paean to Ted Williams (based on the famous Casey at the Bat, now called Teddy at the Bat. He winds up, twisting his body into a whirlwind. He calls the batters out with flailing arms. He echoes the crowd. He’s a one man band!

Flavin’s rewrite of Charlie on the MBA lampooning last year’s team is a palpable hit. He sends up the fried chicken- and-beer-in-the-dugout mentality and slays them with the naughty lyric “Did they finish the race? No, they fell on their face. At floppin’ they were tops. The revoltin’ news is the bums were losers. The 2011 Red Sox.”

If that weren’t enough, American Classics serenades the new coach with the nostalgic oldie Stay, Valentine, Stay. Then we are treated to sparkling medleys from 1912 when mayor Honey Fitz threw out the very first pitch at Fenway. American Classics co-founders, Ben Sears and Brad Conner, performed a jaunty Those Were the Days with (of course!) additional lyrics by Flavin and Cynthia Mork lifted a jazzy Blue Skies into the stratosphere. A coquettish Caroline Musica made a corny song like My Little Baby Bumble Bee seem positively profound and Eric Bronner lent his gorgeous tenor to Along Came Ruth.

Flavin debunked the legend that Ruth was traded to the Yankees to finance No, No, Nanette and the ensemble hit one out of the Longy with the hilarious baseball scene from William Finn’s Falsettos. We even got CrackerJax pitched into the audience. And we stood and sang the national anthem! I have to say, American Classics’ FABULOUS FENWAY tribute was more fun than – well – baseball!