Indy's own Shannon Forsell made her Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra debut in Jack Everly’s sprightly tribute to the beloved Marvin Hamlisch, whose frequent appearances at Hilbert Circle Theatre were recalled by patrons at the 11 a.m. coffee concert reviewed here.
One conversation particularly resonated: "It’s strange not to have him here in person.” “Oh, but he is because we remember," went the reply.
And so the beat went on through a showcase of Hamlisch compositions for stage and screen, from his first Billboard Hot 100 success in 1965 (“Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows”) — to songs from A Chorus Line, which that garnered a Tony and a Pulitzer Prize in 1975.
And Hamlisch kept up that remarkable virtuosity — and grabbed plenty more awards — until his death in 2012. Audience members could be seen moving to the music they had internalized from one hit after another.
ISO players, with principal vocalist Marissa McGowan and vocalists Carolann M. Sanita, Shannon Forsell, Jerry Hacker, Joseph Perkins Jr., Melissa Schott, Gerritt Vandermeer and Corby York, brought the depth and breadth of Hamlisch’s oeuvre to life.
Special moments included members of the Indianapolis Children’s Choir sharing a sterling excerpt from “Anatomy of Peace” and Jen Ladner’s fetching choreography for “At the Ballet” from A Chorus Line engagingly interpreted by Sydney Williams, Helen Hughes and Josie Kirk, dancers with the Indianapolis School of Ballet.
Most touching was a note from the Hamlisch family, read by Everly. Most assuredly there will be future programs "playing his songs."