Take two of L.A.’s most handsome and vocally gifted musical theater performers—partners in music and life for the past eleven years. Stir in a dozen and a half tunes showcasing their talents both as individuals and as a duo. Back with some terrific ivory-tickling and surround with a theaterful of fans and friends and you’ve got Paul+Chris: Together Again (for the first time), an evening of musical theatre songs “exploring the surprises of friendship, longing, and love,” and one far too entertaining for its one performance only last night at the NoHo Arts Center.

 “Together,” from Gypsy, provided a couldn’t-be-better opening duet for Paul Marchegiani and Christopher Maikish, a couple for more than a decade, “through thick and through thin, all out or all in.”

Forgoing “obvious” Cole Porter titles like “Tom, Dick, Or Harry” (“Any Tom, Harry or Dick”), “Blow, Gabriel, Blow,” or “You’re The Top,” Paul and Chris then launched into their Kiss Me Kate medley of “Why Can’t You Behave” (Chris) and “Always True To You (In My Fashion)” to audience laughter and cheers.

Having sung together for the past eleven years “in the shower and in the car,” Paul+Chris: Together Again (for the first time) made the couple’s heretofore private harmonizing a public thing, with classic stage duets like “Agony” from Into The Woods, “Anything You Can Do” from Annie Get Your Gun, and “You’re Nothing Without Me” from City Of Angels serving as perfect showcases for Paul and Chris’s showstopping vocals.

Marchegiani and Maikish first met on stage several years before they became an “us,” back in their college years at Northwestern, a first meeting they recalled in song with the operatic (and gorgeously sung) “Barcarolle,” from Offenbach’s Tales Of Hoffman and “La Ci Darem La Mano” from Mozart’s Don Giovanni.

Chris’s sassy solo of “George,” William Bolcom’s cabaret ditty about a man who “sang the best soprano in our part of town, in beads, brocade and pins” segued into the duo’s stunning rendition of “Move On,” from Sunday In The Park With George.

A trio of show songs written for same-sex couples made for three of the evening’s best and ultimately most moving numbers, starting with the infectious “I Think We Got Love” from Zanna, Don’t!, followed by a pair of duets (“You Walk With Me” from The Full Monty and “What Would I Do?” from Falsettos) that could have coaxed tears from a stone.

Rounding out the evening were the vaudevillian “All For The Best” from Godspell, a pair of sensational solos (Chris’s “Along The Way,” from Edges: A Song Cycle and Paul’s “Maybe This Time,” from Cabaret), and the deliciously witty “It Would Have Been Wonderful” from A Little Night Music.”

As for whatever surprise encore Chris and Paul might have chosen to end the evening, I’ll leave their inspired choice to the memories of those fortunate enough to be gathered for this splendid evening of song, accompanied expertly on piano by Dr. James Lent.

Paul+Chris: Together Again (for the first time) was part of the Summer Concert Series put together by The Academy For New Musical Theatre, whose World Premiere Musical A Ring In Brooklyn is now playing Fridays through Sundays at the NoHo Arts Center.

Paul+Chris: Together Again (for the first time) more than lived up to its promise of “one special night,” and lucky indeed were those like this reviewer who got to share this evening of romance, friendship, and song with them.

NoHo Arts Center, 11136 Magnolia Blvd., North Hollywood.

–Steven Stanley
August 14, 2012

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