- Autumn de Wilde
- Pink Martini
Hilbert Circle Theatre; April 13-15
Spirited and engaging, the entire program merits accolades for fine musicianship and attention to audience partnership. Familiarity has benefits, with a full-house humming, singing and moving with the music, including during a finely crafted orchestral opening showcasing Bernstein's "Overture to Candide," Gershwin's "Cuban Overture" and Brodin's Polovtzian Dances from "Prince Igor No. 17" [recognized by its knock-off, "Strangers in Paradise."]
Attired in a sling shoulder silver silk top over flowing black crepe pants, conductor Sarah Hicks took command of the stage to deliver crisp direction, her long black hair picking up highlights from the blue-indigo-violet lighting, her body moving with the melody of each piece. ISO players clearly connected with the energy and earned robust applause.
Pink Martini players and vocalists seamlessly interfaced with the orchestra for a program of selections from their repertoire ranging across a mix of Latin rhythms, jazz, cabaret and Hollywood musicals, including their initial worldwide hit song "Sympathique." Serving as emcee, Pink Martin's founder/pianist Thomas Lauderdale, whose program bio lists his "hometown of Portland, Oregon," got a roar of recognition from a segment of the audience representing his true hometown — Munster, Indiana.
The feel truly is intimacy of a lounge band playing to a small gathering. The comfort zone extended to noticing a couple in the front row really into the music, and inviting them to the stage to sing along with vocalist China Forbes. The other surprise at the April 13 program was the appearance of four youthful members of the storied Von Trapp family. Lauderdale simply invited them into the ISO gig after they had worked together on the west coast.
So there we were, in an international, intergenerational moment, skipping across musical landscapes. Pink Martini made its ISO debut November 2010. If you missed them then and/or now, put their concert on the calendar next time; same for a return appearance by Hicks.