Reagle Music Theatre of Greater Boston is once again presenting Broadway veterans Kirby and Beverly Ward in the original musical revue, "Say It with Music," a non-stop song-and-dance salute to the genius of composer Irving Berlin. Presenting a parade of unforgettable all-American classic hits, "Say It with Music" features 40 local singers, dancers, and a professional orchestra in three shows only, October 1 and 2, at the Robinson Theatre in Waltham. Veteran WBZ-TV news anchor and award-winning Reagle Music Theatre leading man Scott Wahle narrates.
"When you think of mainstream American music, the name Irving Berlin is at the top of the list," says Robert Eagle, producing artistic director of Reagle Music Theatre and creator of this original revue. "George Gershwin called Berlin ‘the greatest song writer that has ever lived.' Jerome Kern said, ‘Irving Berlin has no place in American music - he is American music.' What better tonic in these difficult times than to celebrate anew the most prominent voice in American music during the 20th century? Berlin's simple yet elegant words and music serve to remind us of the greatness of our country and its people. Not only did Berlin capture and express the essence of the American spirit - and the times - through six decades of musical composition. He also was a shining example of the immigrant rags-to-riches optimism that continues to inspire all of us to work toward the American Dream."
Of the estimated 1500 songs in the Berlin canon - from "Puttin' on the Ritz" to "White Christmas" - hundreds came from Berlin's 19 Broadway musicals including "As Thousands Cheer," "This Is the Army," "Annie Get Your Gun" and "Call Me Madam." Countless other American standards came from his 18 movie scores including "Top Hat," "Follow the Fleet," "Alexander's Ragtime Band," "Holiday Inn," "Easter Parade," "There's No Business Like Show Business," and "White Christmas." His stirring "God Bless America" has taken its place alongside "The Star Spangled Banner" as our nation's "unofficial second national anthem."
Reagle's "Say It with Music" treats audiences to 40 of Berlin's most memorable compositions mixing up-tempo jazz with romantic ballads. Highlights include the Wards' graceful song and dance interpretations which evoke comparisons to Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. The tap-happy "Let Yourself Go" and the smooth-strutting "Top Hat, White Tie and Tails" are also show-stoppers.
Kirby Ward is best known to Reagle audiences as both director and actor. He most recently starred here as Bobby Child in "Crazy for You," which he also directed. In 2002, he mounted Reagle's critically acclaimed production of "Singin' in the Rain," earning an IRNE (Independent Reviewers of New England) Award for Best Director. On Broadway Ward has starred as Frank Schultz in Hal Prince and Susan Stroman's acclaimed revival of "Show Boat" and appeared in the companies of "Never Gonna Dance" and "Woman of the Year." In London's West End Ward originated the role of Bobby Child in "Crazy for You" and earned a coveted Olivier Award nomination.
Off-Broadway and regionally Ward has starred as Harvey in the revival of "Coconuts," as David in Stephen Sondheim's "Company," and as Arnolph in "School for Wives" at the Helen Hayes Performing Arts Center. On television Ward has appeared on "Law and Order: Special Victim's Unit," "General Hospital," "The Tonight Show," and numerous national commercials. Ward's film appearances include "For the Boys" with Bette Midler and James Caan, "Pennies from Heaven" with Steve Martin, and "S.O.B." with Julie Andrews. Other regional credits include Billy in "My One and Only," Herod in "Jesus Christ Superstar," Billy Early in "No, No, Nanette," George M. Cohan in "George M!," Don in "Singin' in the Rain," and Vernon in "They're Playing Our Song." Recently Ward appeared as Bob Hope with Dick Cavett at the Library of Congress' celebration of Bob Hope's 100th Birthday.
Beverly Ward is a multi-talented actress, singer, dancer, writer, and artist who has graced the Reagle Music Theatre stage as Ellie in "Showboat," Edythe Herbert in "My One and Only," Kathy Seldon in "Singin' in the Rain," Polly Baker in "Crazy for You," Lili St. Regis in "Annie," and "Say It With Music." For the past year she has been starring as Billy's Mum in the National Tour of the Tony Award-winning musical "Billy Elliot." Ward has appeared on Broadway in "Epic Proportions," on London's West End in "Crazy for You," and in the National Tours of "Crazy for You" (Helen Hayes nomination) and "Showboat." Favorite regional roles include Trina in "Falsettos," Roxie Hart in "Chicago," Shelby in "The Spitfire Grill," Maria Von Trapp in "The Sound of Music," Edythe Herbert in "My One and Only," and Ilona in "She Loves Me."
Together the Wards have traveled the world, performing as a team for royalty and heads of state. One of their most memorable experiences was stopping the show at the Hollywood Bowl with their tap dance rendition of Gershwin's "I've Got a Crush on You." Both are accomplished writers and composers. Kirby has written several musicals and screenplays, and his short film "Down in the Mouth" was named Best Short at the Kent Film Festival. Beverly has performed as a singer/songwriter in notable night spots including New York's Birdland and The Bitter End, and with Kirby she is developing a new musical called "Dancing as Fast as We Can." Both have performed in concert on symphony stages and in cabaret spaces around the globe.
Scott Wahle is a popular Boston TV personality and a Reagle Music Theatre favorite. Last season he portrayed the Narrator/Old Man opposite Drama Desk and IRNE Award winner Rachel York in the critically acclaimed production of "Into the Woods." He next reprised his IRNE Award-winning turn as Harold Hill in "The Music Man." Additional Reagle credits include "1776" (John Adams, IRNE nomination), "Fiddler on the Roof" (Tevye), "The Will Rogers Follies" (Will Rogers), and "Annie" (F.D.R.). Other favorite roles include the King in "The King and I," Curly in "Oklahoma!," Sancho in "Man of La Mancha," Michael in "I Do! I Do!" and Smudge in "Forever Plaid." Wahle made his motion picture debut in the Tom Cruise film "Knight and Day." He was a featured guest on "The Rosie O'Donnell Show," he's performed twice with Keith Lockhart and The Boston Pops, and he has sung the National Anthem at Red Sox, Bruins, Celtics, and Patriots games.
Wahle's 30-year career in television began in Portland, Maine, with stops in Hartford and Detroit. He spent four seasons doing NHL play-by-play and worked for ESPN's SportsCenter before coming back home to his native Boston where he served as morning news anchor for WBZ-TV for 10 years. Wahle lives on the South Shore with his wife, Maribeth, and their four children.
Performances of "Say It with Music" are Saturday, October 1, at 2 and 7 p.m. and Sunday, October 2, at 2 p.m. Tickets are $35, $38, $43 and $50 for adults and $25 for youths 5-18. A $2 discount is available for seniors 60 years of age or older. Half price student rush seats are available one hour before performance at the Box Office only. A valid college ID is required. Tickets may be purchased online at www.reaglemusictheatre.org, by calling 781-891-5600, or in person at the Box Office at the Robinson Theatre, 617 Lexington Street, Waltham, Mass. Box Office hours are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and performance days 9 a.m. till curtain.
Reagle Music Theatre of Greater Boston is an award-winning regional theater company that features Broadway stars performing alongside local talent. The 43-year-old non-profit organization operates year-round, producing major musicals each summer, spectacular seasonal revues, and celebrity concerts featuring legendary entertainers. Stars who have appeared at Reagle include Patrick Cassidy, John Davidson, Robert Goulet, Shirley Jones, Patti LuPone, Ann Margaret, Andrea McArdle, Lee Meriwether, Sarah Pfisterer, Debbie Reynolds, Sally Struthers, Tommy Tune, Leslie Uggams, Joanne Worley, and Rachel York.