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‘Best of Bacharach’ brings composers hits to the TheatreZone in Naples

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'Best of Bacharach' brings composers hits to the TheatreZone in Naples

If you know the way to San Jose please don’t tell Burt Bacharach. Or Mark Danni.

They’ll spoil the premise behind one of Bacharach’s greatest hits, which helps Danni wrap up the TheatreZone season with his revue “Best of Bacharach”. Danni, Artistic Director of TheatreZone, saved the best for last, even though it just took so long to reduce the prolific songwriter’s hits.

From a catalog of almost a hundred songs written or co-written by Bacharach, he has compiled the best-known from the 1960s and early 1970s. But Bacharach was already composing contagious pieces in 1958 when he wrote “Magic Moments” as the flip side of the 45-rpm track “Catch a Falling Star” for TV pop singer Perry Como. It resulted in a rare “double-a-side” record with both sides reaching the top 10 on the pop charts.

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Larry Alexander appears during the dress rehearsal for

Other Bacharach pieces that have baby boomers cut their musical teeth may not even be associated with him. But Bacharach wrote, or wrote, “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance” for Gene Pitney (1962); “Baby, It’s You” for The Shirelles (1961); and the infectious theme from the 1967 film “Casino Royale”.

He also wrote MTV mega hits “On My Own,” sung by Patti LaBelle and Michael McDonald (1986); and “That’s what friends are for” with Dionne Warwick, Elton John, Gladys Knight and Stevie Wonder (1985).

Bacharach wrote solo and by the name of Hal David, with whom he shares a Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for lifelong achievement in pop music, to Carole Bayer Sager, Neil Diamond and Elvis Costello.

The attraction of his songs is that they were so tuned to language patterns, said Danni.

“He’s so identifiable. You hear a Bacharach song and you go, ‘Omigod, that’s such a Bacharach,” he said. However, this means that the counters will shift frequently, and indeed the key signatures as well. They are daunting for the beginner.

Danni remembered an interview with Bacharach in which a musician complained to him that his melodies were “so complicated”. Bacharach’s answer, as Danni recalled, was, “It’s not complicated at all. If you listened to the lyrics, the displays match exactly as you would say.”

One thing that stopped Bacharach from being the subject of more than one Broadway revue is that he didn’t write musicals. Danni said, “He only wrote one musical – ‘Promise, Promise’. He didn’t like that process. He said,” I’ll never do this again. “He liked the freedom to write what he wanted to write and when (he wanted write it).

“And when you get into a musical there are tons of ‘This song doesn’t work so we have to write another one.’ And ‘That’s a nice song, but it doesn’t work here. We have to cut it.’ “

Nevertheless, “Promises, Promises”, based on the movie “The Apartment”, delivered three chart hits: “Promises, Promises”, “I Say a Little Prayer” and “I will never fall in love again”.

In this revue, Larry Alexander, a TheatreZone performance favorite, will star with three seasoned artists: Kellie Cullinan, Brooke Rosenbluth and Elizabeth Marcantonio. There is a fun “girl group dance” – “Like in the 60s, where the three of them move around.” There’s a five-piece orchestra with music director Charles Fornara that Danni, a former professional theater drummer, couldn’t resist.

Danni complained that he couldn’t enter some of his personal favorites.

Mark Danni introduces his band during the dress rehearsal for

“I love ‘Alfie’ and it just didn’t make the cut because of the timing. I also love a song that we find totally inappropriate today and that we didn’t do because of that,” he said of “Wives and Lovers.” “It’s a product of the ‘Mad Men’ era, when women were expected to stay at home and women were viewed as tempted in the office.

day after day

“We cut through the list and said, ‘Oh, this is a bloody song’ and then we looked at the lyrics a little more closely and said, ‘Oh, I think that’s not really good right now.'”

It shares the distinctive Bacharach arrangement style that required TheatreZone to bring in brass for this revue. Bacharach liked the trumpet and flugelhorn in its hooks and pickups.

“It was a distinct sound that he always had,” he said. “We made sure we had a trumpet / flugelhorn player for this one.”

A single “best of” date can hardly contain the stage-worthy Bacharach. Danni would be the first to agree.

Actually, it could also be Bacharach. At 92 and another Grammy nomination that year, he’s still writing songs.

Harriet Howard Heithaus reports on arts and entertainment for the Naples Daily News / naplesnews.com. Reach them at 239-213-6091.

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Dave Stevens plays the trumpet during dress rehearsal for

What: TheatreZone stages an evening with songs by Burt Bacharach

When: 7.30 p.m., 15.-17. April and 22.-24. April; and 2 p.m. from April 17th to 18th and 25th

Tickets: $ 50- $ 85

To buy:theater.zone or 888-966-3352 ext. 1

Something else: Since the seats are socially distant, the ticks are limited

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