Thursday, November 17, 2016

Joe and Sylvia Penrod Set up ONE FOR THE ROAD This Weekend for Prairie Fire

If you are a fan of musical theater in Bloomington-Normal, you already know you should never, no matter what, pass up an opportunity to hear Joe Penrod sing. His voice is gorgeous plus he's a terrific entertainer and actor who knows how to inhabit lyrics. Sylvia Penrod's talents are different from Joe's, since hers are at the piano, but they're no less impressive. And this weekend, as a holiday gift to all of us, Joe and Sylvia Penrod will be performing together in a revue from Prairie Fire Theatre called One for the Road, scheduled for two shows Saturday and Sunday at Illinois Wesleyan University's Memorial Lounge.

Bloomington Pantagraph reviewer Nancy Steele Brokaw got an advance look at One for the Road and she's listed some of the songs Joe and Sylvia have on their playlist. Her notes include classic pieces like "Come Fly with Me," a 1957 song written by Jimmy Van Heusen and Sammy Cahn for Frank Sinatra and "Try to Remember," written by Harvey Schmidt and Tom Jones* to open The Fantasticks.

There's also material from Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler's Sweeney Todd and Lerner and Loewe's My Fair Lady, both of which Joe Penrod performed recently, and a nod to Leonard Cohen, who passed away on November 7.

Brokaw doesn't mention the song "One for My Baby (and One More for the Road)," although given the event's title, I am guessing it may be on the list. I hope so. It's a beautiful song, with music by Harold Arlen and lyrics by Johnny Mercer, introduced by my favorite, Fred Astaire, in a 1943 movie called The Sky's the Limit, even if it became more associated with Frank Sinatra after Fred had danced and sung his way through it. The song's world-weary "metropolitan melancholy" is unforgettable. "It's quarter to three, there's no one in the place except you and me..." Yeah, we've all been there.

The Penrods will perform One for the Road at 7:30 pm Saturday November 19 and 3 pm Sunday November 20 at the IWU Memorial Lounge. For more information you can visit the Prairie Fire Theatre site or call 309-824-3047 for reservations.

*No, the Tom Jones who wrote the lyrics for The Fantasticks is not that Tom Jones. This one was born in Texas, not Wales, and he also worked with Harvey Schmidt on 110 in the Shade and I Do! I Do!

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