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Review of The Soul of Gershwin at Park Square Theatre

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Quote of the Day: Life is a lot like jazz, it’s best when you improvise. George Gershwin

Jazz is one of the best things you can find in your life, it can always be your friend.

The Soul of Gershwin, the musical journey of an American Klezmer is on stage through December 31, 2016, at the Park Square Theatre in St. Paul, MN. You don’t want to miss this one. Outside, the temps are in the single digits, but inside the Park Square Theatre you’ll experience the kind of goosebumps that raise your heart rate, heat you up and send shivers down your legs. The musicianship is outstanding. I couldn’t believe how lucky I was to be sitting in their presence. 

The Soul of Gershwin Photo by Petronella J Ytsma

The Soul of Gershwin.  Photo by Petronella J Ytsma

While I sat there, feeling the music wash over me, I learned more about the Gershwins, the history of music, what influenced them, and the styles and musicians that they inspired. The performance flew by and left me longing for more. If I lived closer, and our December wasn’t so full, I’d go again and bring my teenage boys. They would have loved it. They’re both in jazz band, studying jazz styles and composers, and they would have experienced excellence from these performers that transcends your regular, classroom education.

I swooned at the voices and shivered at instrumental riffs, rhythms and melodies. Michael Paul Levin, who plays George Gershwin, talks to us like we’re old pals hanging out at the club. As he describes the music and influence of his life, the musicians take over and give us the steamy examples. You can catch a glimpse of it in this promotional video.

The Soul of Gershwin from Park Square Theatre on Vimeo.

Folks, I’m telling you, this show is all that and more. The first Act came to a climax with such a soulful rendition of I Got Rhythm that I had to catch my breath. The band is Klezmerica who perform all over the world, including the Dakota Jazz Club in Minneapolis, and have several recordings (which I need to purchase!) Adam Meckler on trumpet, Doug Haining on the clarinet, Gary Schulte on violin (also Carolyn Boulay, in some performances), Chris Bates on Bass, and Jay Epstein or Nathan Norman on drums, and Joseph Vass on piano, who is also the creator of the show. The various instruments and vocalist took over as soloists. It could have gone on forever.

If you love music, if you love jazz, soul, heartfelt singing from luscious voices, musicians that knock your socks off, and two hours of pure bliss, then you will love experiencing The Soul of Gershwin at Park Square Theatre!

Go. Create. Inspire!

Journaling Prompt: When have you been transcended by soulful art or music?

  1. Shame your boys won’t see it if they are jazz musicians. Decembers are just too busy, aren’t they?

  2. My city has a wonderful a cappella group that’s talented but also a lot of fun. Every year, they have a Christmas show, and I don’t feel “in the spirit” until I hear them sing.

    A fun example (not exactly a holiday song, though) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h70edcAR7Yk

    No matter what else is going on in my life, they lift me up.

    And the Gershwins had so many incredible songs. I don’t doubt this was a memorable performance. Now Gershwin is always linked with “Mr. Holland’s Opus” in my mind.

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