Musical Theatre Guild once again proves its level of talent and versatility with 
its latest “Broadway in Concert” presentation, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s 
Aspects Of Love. The talent is personified by Broadway’s Kim Huber and 
Christina Saffran Ashford and National Tour/regional theater vets Roger 
Befeler, Chuck Bergman, and Michael G. Hawkins.  The versatility is proven by 
this season’s selection of musicals. Following The Mystery Of Edwin Drood with 
its big cast/big production numbers and the small cast, comedy skit filled As 
Thousands Cheer, Musical Theatre Guild now undertakes very nearly an opera 
with the entirely sung-through “Pucciniesque” Aspects of Love, which has a 
cast of 13.

Aspects Of Love was Andrew Lloyd Webber’s first Broadway show since The 
Phantom Of The Opera and features a lush operatic score in the same vein, 
quite unlike the music from his previous Cats and Starlight Express. Running less 
a year, Aspects was hardly the popular success producers had been hoping 
for, yet its score remains one of Sir Andrew’s most melodic and memorable, 
and thus makes it a perfect choice for MTG, whose goal is to perform shows 
unlikely to become part of a CLO or other major theater season.

It’s also a fine choice for MTG because, unlike the three above-mentioned 
ALW shows with their big sets/big production numbers, Aspects Of Love is 
essentially a chamber piece, a musical soap opera centering around five 
characters whose love triangles intersect over a period of seventeen years.  
Rose has affairs with Alex and George. Alex has affairs with Rose and is the 
object of a major infatuation by Rose’s daughter Jenny.  George has affairs 
with Rose and Giulietta. And Giulietta makes out with Rose at Rose’s 
wedding, thus ending Act 1 (though Aspects Of Love leaves whatever 
happened between the two women during intermission to our imaginations).

Generally speaking, I’m not a big fan of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s music, yet I 
must confess to liking Aspects Of Love, which features the gorgeous ballads 
“Love Changes Everything,” “Seeing Is Believing,” “The First Man You 
Remember,” and “Anything But Lonely,” as well as the more upbeat 
“Everybody Loves A Hero” and “Hand Me The Wine And The Dice.”  Webber 
interweaves these melodies throughout the sung dialog, thus insuring that 
audiences will be humming them long after the final curtain.

The original Broadway production (an import from London) featured a full 
orchestra, and most MTG productions have used a scaled down version. This 
time, though, twin grand pianos were chosen as accompaniment, 
emphasizing the intimacy of the piece. Though the full orchestra sound of the 
Original Cast CD is absent, musical director John Glaudini and Steven Smith on 
pianos perform flawlessly, and the cast’s voices more than make up for the loss 
of multiple instruments.

As is the case with many of our top musical theater talents (including David 
Engel, Tami Tappan Damiano, Misty Cotton, and many more), Broadway’s loss 
has been L.A.’s gain, and Kim Huber continues to be one of our most stellar 
leading ladies, the personification of beauty and class. Playing against her girl-
next-door image, Huber’s Rose is a diva and a temptress, and a far cry from 
the timid and gawky Missy she’s been bringing to life for the past year and a 
half in The Marvelous Wonderettes. Possessing a voice that can belt out a 
power ballad with the best of them, here she explores her operatic range, with 
impressive results.

Christina Saffran Ashford likewise has a voice that could make angels weep 
and bring an audience to their feet. “There Is More To Love,” her dueling divas 
duet with Huber is a show-stopper, as is the flamenco themed “Hand Me The 
Wine And The Dice,” which also showcases Tracy Powell’s choreography and 
the dance talents of the ensemble.

Roger Befeler, who happens to be Huber’s husband in real life, plays her 
younger lover Alex here, and besides possessing a soaring voice, shares great 
chemistry with his onstage mistress and offstage wife. Befeler also deserves a 
pat on the back for forging ahead despite a problematic mike throughout 
much of Act 1 on opening night.

Completing the vocally gifted cast are silver fox Michael G. Hawkins, a 
longtime SoCal favorite, as the wealthy and seductive George, MTG favorite 
Chuck Bergman as servant Marcel, and 18-year-old vocal prodigy Beth Alison 
as 15-year-old Jenny.  Hawkins gets a huge ovation for the Act 2 opener, 
“Leading Lady” and Alison duets a lovely “Mermaid Song” opposite Befeler.

Calvin Remsberg has directed Aspects Of Love with his accustomed skill.  A 
very effective (and gorgeous) “Seeing Is Believing” has train passengers Rose 
and Alex seated face to face.  Remsberg brings out the fire in Rose when she 
rails at Alex for letting her wear George’s first wife’s dress.  Though there is no 
set, Remsberg also uses lighting effectively to set moods and signal scene 
changes. The ensemble (Dane Biren, Dan Callaway, Pamela Hamill (as 
Elizabeth), Robin De Lano, Heather R. Provst, Sierra Rein, and Jeffrey 
Christopher Todd) all do fine work here, assuming multiple roles, assisting in swift 
and well planned set changes, and most especially executing Powell’s 
choreography in the foot-stomping “Hand Me The Wine And The Dice.”

Next up from MTG is Cole Porter’s 1950 Out Of This World, in the L.A. premiere of 
the recently revised version, and the season concludes with the West Coast 
Premiere of The Fix, a musical commentary on American political dynasties. 
Though several of MTG’s shows (including this one) get a second performance 
in Thousand Oaks, some (including The Fix) are one- performance-only at the 
Alex Theatre in Glendale.  For all lovers of musical theater, these are truly must-
see events, as those who saw Aspects Of Love on Monday can attest to.

–Steven Stanley
February 10, 2008

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