Photo Credit: Natasha Castillo
Cosmic Connections: Six Degrees of Michael Colby
Don’t Tell Mama
Sun Dec. 29 2 pm
Maureen Taylor presented Cosmic Connections- The Lyrics of Michael Colby at Don’t Tell Mama, in the intimate brick room. Entering from the back of the room Taylor quickly established a very relaxed and easy connection with her audience. This assisted her as she launched into her opening number More Than Meets The Eye (Colby/Introcaso). Taylor’s excellent diction helped sell the patter song which had a ragtime feel to it.
Taylor went on to explain her long connection with lyricist Michael Colby, wh is known for his contributions to musical theater such as Charlotte Sweet, Mrs McThing, Slay It With Music and the Broadway bound Dangerous. He is also the author of the memoir The Algonquin Kid: Adventures Growing Up in New York’s Legendary Hotel. Both Taylor and Colby attended Northwestern University, had many professional musical associations and spent time at the famed Algonquin Hotel and its now closed Oak Room.
Taylor set up her next song, I Know Everybody’s Business (Colby/Markoe), mentioning a psychic who predicted the success of Colby’s work. She then asked various audience members personal questions such as their birthday or address and did on-the-spot numerological readings of them. This immediately engaged her audience and developed the theme of the “cosmic connections” we all share.
Taylor made many connections throughout the performance. In addition to exploring her long association with Colby she talked about dating, her career in Europe, her wonderful female mentors: Andrea Marcovicci, Betty Buckley and how they helped her to serve the lyric of the song and become a better storyteller. Some of the best moments of the show, however, were when she got away from the associations (which were often complex) and allowed herself to connect directly with the material. Her discussion of music as a healing modality for example, led into My Song (Colby/Milrose) which had a truly soaring ending. Taylor’s well trained soprano is full and exciting to listen to. Some of the earlier pieces How Do You Make Magic (Colby/Urbont) and All I Need (Colby/Ginsburg) were well sung and flowed into each other but stayed more at the same level. Later in the performance she spoke about the importance of using one’s gifts. This led into the reprise of My Song (Colby/Millrose) which worked very well to tie the evening together.
Some of the connections Taylor made became a little hard to follow. A mention of white chocolate led to Funny Bunny Song (Colby/Markoe) which was charming but a little more difficult to get involved in. There were 21 songs in the show and Taylor moved through them with ease and grace. A number of them towards the end were also very short! Song titles and their composers were projected on a screen backing the stage which also displayed beautiful “cosmic” images. Although there were some moments when I wondered where Taylor was going next. Somehow it all came together in the end and by the time she sang the final song I Just Know (Colby/Levin) Taylor had won her audience over fully. Taylor was truly interested in making connections.
Matt Castle, Frank Galgano
John Narun – Designer
Eric Stribigy – Technical Director