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December 4, 2012 > Theatre: Cantare! sings in the season

Theatre: Cantare! sings in the season

By Julie Grabowski

One of the best parts of the Christmas holiday is the music, and Curtain Call Performing Arts (CCPA) steps into the season with "A Broadway Holiday," featuring Cantare! A San Leandro-based community chorus, Cantare! performs new musical theatre twice a year - December's "A Broadway Holiday" and "An American Song Book" in June - with a repertoire of songs from less familiar shows as well as popular Broadway favorites.

The compact venue of the California Conservatory Theatre (CCT) in downtown San Leandro gives "A Broadway Holiday" an intimate and personal feel, and the chorus seems comfortable in the small space. Staging is simple, two wall hangings of decorated Christmas trees at either corner, a collection of ornaments and cut out stars dangling from the ceiling. While tantalizingly titled, "A Broadway Holiday" and the 12-member chorus delivered an adequate but sometimes wobbly mix of Broadway tunes. However, accompanied by new director Evan Alparone on keyboard, stars began to shine as the evening progressed.

Mallory Vieira does a nice job in "A Part of That" from "The Last Five Years," making the first notable impression of the evening. Vieira is really invested in the song and that feeling translates in her delivery and is apparent throughout additional numbers.

"Greensleeves" is solidly done, and the "Les Miserables" medley is perhaps the most enjoyable of the evening, hitting good highlights from the popular musical. The medley also offers up a standout rendition of "Bring Me Home" with the wonderful paring of Jennifer Weiner and Ben Barr. Weiner goes on to wow with "Back to Before" from "Ragtime," which is hands down the best number of the night. Samantha Jones, however, is hot on her heels with her solo in "Till We Reach That Day." Jones is stunning and ups the wow factor started by Weiner. These two ladies are the highlights of the evening, dazzling and impressing from the first notes out of their mouths, and elevating the evening to a pitch that would have been nice to hear throughout.

The finale, a medley of carols is well done and brings the show to a solid close, releasing the audience into the night with a communal feeling of well being. Cantare! has a nice collection of voices that blend well and are at their best when raised together. With plenty of potential and some standout voices, they are a group to watch.

For tickets or more information on Cantare! or Curtain Call Performing Arts' upcoming season including musicals, stage plays, and choral concerts, call (510) 909-9516 or visit

Cantare! Presents "A Broadway Holiday"
November 30 - December 9
8 p.m. (Sunday matinees at 2 p.m.)
California Conservatory Theatre
999 E. 14th St., San Leandro
(510) 909-9516
Tickets: $10 - $25

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