Monday, October 14, 2013

"Your Hit Parade" rousing start to Quality Hill's all-time best


J. Kent Barnhart never comes up short when it comes to new and innovative musicals at his Quality Hill Playhouse but this season’s he’s taking a look back at his all-time best.

Starting with a dazzling production of “Your Hit Parade – The American Songbook,” Barnhart is presenting “Do It Again: The Best of Quality Hill Playhouse” in observance of Quality Hill’s 20th season.

The five all-time biggest hits over the years along with the annual holiday cabaret revue “Christmas in Song” will be presented over the next nine months but time is running out on the opening production of “Your Hit Parade,” which runs through Sunday, Oct. 27.

For those who remember a quarter of a century of “Your Hit Parade” on radio and then television and featuring such names as Snooky Lamson, Dorothy Collins and Giselle McKenzie, it’s an absolute “don’t miss” production.

As usual, Barnhart has lined up an all-star vocal cast of Lauren Braton, Molly Hammer, Kathryn Long and Tim Scott along with Brian Wilson on bass and Julian Goff in taking the audience back to some of the world’s most loved music.

Barnhart, himself, is a scene stealer when he gives up the keyboards for a rousing rendition of the Ernie Ford classic, “16 Tons,” while Scott raises the roof with his performances of Johnny Ray’s “Cry” and Elvis Presley’s “Jailhouse Rock.”

The three talented women vocalists team up on “Mister Sandman” along with showing off their own respective talents – Lauren Bratton on “Que Sera, Sera” and “Tennessee Waltz;” Molly Hammer, “Come On-A My House” and “Who’s Sorry Now;” and .Kathryn Long, “Old Cape Cod” and “Tammy.”

Other highlights range from the bouncy “Play a Simple Melody” and “Pistol Packin’ Mama” to “Dream,” “A Fine Romance” and “How High the Moon” and finishing with the song that eventually led to the demise of “Your Hit Parade,” “Rock Around the Clock.”

 The rest of the 2013-14 lineup:

“Christmas in Song,” the annual holiday revue Nov. 21-Dec. 24.

“All Sinatra,” a cabaret tribute to Ol’ Blue Eyes Jan. 24-Feb. 23.

“Great Duets of Musical Theatre,” Broadway’s best songs written for two March 7-April 6.

“The Musical of Musicals,” a hilarious spoof of Broadway’s believed musicals April 55-May 25.

“Rhapsody in Gershwin: Gershwin brothers classics plus Barnhart’s “Rhapsody in Blue,” June 6-July 6.

Located at 303 W. 10th in Kansas City, Mo., information on each performance and tickets can be found on-line at or by calling 816-421-1700.

PHOTO: Lauren Braton and Director J. Kent Barnhart, seated at the piano, and (from left) bass Brian Wilson, Molly Hammer. Tim Scott and Kathryn Long form the musical cast of Quality Hill’s outstanding production of “Your Hit Parade” which runs through Oct. 27. (Photo by Larry Levenson).