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Jul 20 2005
Jan Sjostrom | Palm Beach Daily News

One of the strongest impressions left by Palm Beach Dramaworks' production of Berlin to Broadway with Kurt Weill... is how versatile a composer Weill was. Under J. Barry Lewis' sure-handed direction, the production gives each song its due. The four cast members make a well-tuned ensemble, supported by musical director Paul Reekie's nimble and expressive piano work. In a dynamic performance from start to finish, mezzo-soprano Elizabeth Dimon brings savagery and pathos to the deserted lover's lament. "Surabaya Johnny", and with to the ironic housewives duet, "Lullaby". Shelley Keelor has a steel-pier strength soprano voice, but can yield an annoying vibrato. She's better in subdued numbers such as the quirky "That's Him", in which she gives the title phrase a dizzying array of interpretations. Bruce Linser's tenor voice and youthful good looks suit vulnerable characters, such as the idealistic soldier Johnny Johnson and the sad protagonist of Lonely House. The burlier Michael Testa's rich baritone adapts to everything from the brutal "Ballad of Mack the Knife" to the ethereal "Lost in the Stars." After years of repeat courses of Porter, Gershwin, Berlin and the like - great as they are - it's a refreshing change of pace to see a masterful but underexposed composer such as Weill get his due on a local stage.