Music review: Hayes and Hyman

 

Music review: Hayes and Hyman

 

Date: January 6, 2010
by: June LeBell | Music Critic

 
 

The Golden Apple Dinner Theatre has opened its new cabaret show, “The Musical Magic of Hayes and Hyman,” and if you like nostalgia, schtick, great songs that bring back memories and some of the best pianism around, you’ve got to go!

Dick Hyman, at age 82, is one of the greatest pianists anywhere. He has technique to burn and a way of tearing up the keyboard that brings back memories of Art Tatum, Oscar Peterson, Teddy Wilson and Erroll Garner, except he’d make them jealous.

Bill Hayes, at age 84, is suave, commanding and vocally fit. In fact, he sounds pretty much the same as he sounded when he sang on Sid Caesar’s “Show of Shows” and made a world-wide hit of “No Other Love” from Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Me and Juliet,” in which he also starred.

In fact, from his hit with “The Ballad of Davy Crockett,” to his long-running part in the TV soap, “Days of Our Lives,” Hayes’ career has scored one hit after another.

The Hayes and Hyman show, however, is going to be much more of a hit with the World War II-through-baby-boomer set than their children or grandchildren. From start to finish, it’s an evening of nostalgia and memories. Maybe that’s why the second part of the show was so much more endearing than the first, which was snippets of songs and medleys from the ’40s and ’50s. From Arthur Godfrey — “Strip Polka” and “She’s Too Fat for Me” — to the Everly Brothers and early Elvis, Part I was a trip down the pop-memory lane of the 60-plus set.

But Part II brought on the real recollections with a 21st-century, multi-media presentation of their baby pictures; high-school- and college-yearbook photos; war-time slides; and some terrific kinescopes of early, historic television shows featuring Hyman and Hayes with the likes of Olson and Johnson, and Dizzy Gillespie. If you lived through those years, you’ll go nuts in this part.

Hyman’s droll humor offsets Hayes’ schtick. And, together, they have more bad “uncle” jokes than the Internet. The script, which was a bit stilted and self-conscious opening night, is bound to loosen up as the pair starts playing together. But, for sheer spectacular music-making and memories, this is the show to catch. From Hyman’s settings of Shakespearian songs sung by Hayes and Woody Allen soundtracks on the screen, to his incredible accompanying of Hayes’ tour-de-force presentation of the extremely difficult “Soliloquy” from “Carousel,” the Hayes and Hyman show is the perfect way to look back on a golden era.

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