Fringe Review: “Everything I Need To Know I Learned From Ethel Merman”

Ethel Merman Fringe

“Everything I Need to Know I Learned From… Ethel Merman” is a musical extravaganza coming to the Orlando Fringe Festival in May.


ORLANDO – Legendary Broadway performers, after years of building up a loyal audience, have often discovered that they can build a show around something else: themselves.
After years of entertaining crowds with their renditions of classic show tunes, they finally start to open up about the lives they’ve kept secret from fans. And as gifted performers, they know how to narrate their lives — the joys, the tragedies, the heartache that caused them to struggle behind the scenes, even moments before bursting on the stage, looking radiant and ready to entertain.
And, chances are, they also know there are fans out there who idolize them, their music, and their larger than life personality. In most instances, they probably never know just how powerfully they can inspire someone.
That was the role that legendary Broadway performer Ethel Merman served for Mickey Layman, the singer, actor and comedic performer at Sleuth’s Mystery Dinner Shows and many other Orlando theater productions. With a passion for Merman’s music and career, Layman decided to pay tribute to her with his show at the Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival.
“Everything I Need to Know I Learned From … Ethel Merman” honors the career of the star of “Gypsy” and “Annie Get Your Gun,” the woman that Layman calls “the wisest Diva of them all,” as he sings some of her classic songs, like “You’re The Top,” “I Got Lost In His Arms,” and “Everything’s Coming Up Roses.” Continue reading

Fringe Review: “#KanderAndEbb”

ryan hinds orlando fringe

Toronton’s Ryan G. Hinds brings his tribute show “#kanderandebb” to the Orlando Fringe Festival.


ORLANDO — Never let it be said that our neighbors to the north don’t have a lot to offer when it comes to exquisite pleasures.
Canada truly does offer quite a bit, from the spectacular beauty of Niagara Falls to great cities like Montreal and Vancouver, and if you’ve never vacationed there, you’re truly missing out.
If you want further evidence, just travel over to Epcot and dine at Le Cellier Steakhouse, the Canadian restaurant in the World Showcase that offers an unforgettable candlelit steak and seafood meal in a cellarlike space.
Now Orlando residents get another fine example of a truly first-rate Canadian import, courtesy of Toronto singer and performer Ryan G. Hinds. A longtime fan of the Broadway songwriters John Kander and Fred Ebb — best known for legendary musicals like “Cabaret” and “Kiss of the Spider Woman” — Hinds has delivered his tribute show, #Kander And Ebb,” to the Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival.
Is it worth seeing? Well, if you love a) rich, stunning singing voices, b) a delightfully funny performer, C) Liza Minnelli, and d) obviously, the music of Kander and Ebb, you’re definitely going to want to catch this one. Continue reading

Orlando Philharmonic closes its season — in outer space

The Orlando Philharmonic closed out its season on Saturday with a performance of “The Final Frontier.”

ORLANDO — The Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra closed its season on Saturday with two performances that celebrated a unique form of music: the soundtracks for films and television shows devoted to science fiction.
In doing so, conductor Jack Everly also had an opportunity to celebrate the music of a cinematic legend, the composer whose scores have included films like “Star Wars,” “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” “E.T. The Extra Terrestrial” and “Superman.”
It was a delight, Everly said, to have an opportunity to highlight scores “by the very great John Williams. John truly has become an icon among composers. He just happened to be in Hollywood at the right time.”
The Orlando Philharmonic closed out its 2016/2017 Super Series Program 10 with “The Final Frontier,” a fond look back at how composers like Williams have had an enormous impact on science fiction cinema by creating such memorable scores for these films. They opened with Williams’ main title from “Star Wars,” while also performing music from his soundtracks for “E.T.,” “Superman,” “Close Encounters,” “Star Wars: Phantom Menace” and the end title to the original 1977 Star Wars film. Continue reading

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