BY ROB LESTER**** Once (well, twice) upon a time or two, both Carole Demas and Sarah Rice played the sole female role (Luisa) in the original off-Broadway run of The Fantasticks. Now, many moons later, Carole (the original Sandy in Broadway’s Grease) and Sarah (originator of the role of the daughter of the title character in Sweeney Todd on Broadway) join forces and voices in a show that will be a celebration of the songwriters who created Celebration, The Fantasticks, 110 in the Shade, I Do! I Do!, and more— Harvey Schmidt and Tom Jones. Both the women celebrating the team had also participated in a special event commemorating the 50-year anniversary of their most famous musical, Night of 1000 Luisas. Ms. Demas has additional Schmidt/Jones connections, having played Angel, the ingenue lead, in Celebration with Michael Glen Smith, at ACT in Seattle, direct from Broadway, and two other notable credits in Jones & Schmidt shows: Philemon and The Bone Room.
The Laurie Beechman Theatre in the West Bank Cafe on Theatre Row (West 42nd Street) is a familiar place to both women; Ms. Rice performed numerous times, as recently as this past Sunday (as a guest in Richard Skipper Celebrates, to sing songs made famous by Jeanette MacDonald on the 100th anniversary of her birth) and Ms. Demas (pictured above) belatedly began a cabaret career there not so many years ago.
The survey of the Jones & Schmidt songbook, titled Thank You for Your Love, is currently only set for two special June performances: Saturday, June 24 and Tuesday, June 27, with start time 7:00 PM in both cases. The $20 minimum can apply to dinner from the West Bank menu and/or drinks. Cover charge range is $35-$50.
The show is directed by award winning actor/director Charles Repole and musical director is Joe Goodrich, who will also contribute some vocals. Hal Robinson is a special guest and the sound of the harp, so crucial to the score of The Fantasticks, will be provided by Maria Banks. Stuart J. Allyn, the veteran sound designer, will debut brand new Sennheiser Digital 6000 Microphones, courtesy of Sennheiser.
In addition to her cabaret work, film and television roles, appearances with NYC’s The Ziegfeld Society revues, various concert benefits, and being co-star of the beloved children’s TV series The Magic Garden, Carole Demas has had a long and varied theatre career which has included originating the title role in the David Merrick-produced Stephen Schwartz musical The Baker’s Wife that Mr. Merrick closed out of town.
Sarah Rice is a familiar face to those in the cabaret world, notably winning MAC and Bistro Awards for her Screen Gems show featuring early movie songs, has also devoted evenings to Noel Coward and Ivor Novello and is a regular at Feinstein’s/54 Below Sondheim Unplugged series. She has performed at The Cabaret Convention concerts and popped into the open mic world of cabaret, often with rare or antique material, sometimes bringing along the theremin as her unusual musical instrument, at The Salon and for a while co-hosted an open mic herself at the West End Lounge. She’s played many of the major soprano roles in musical theatre, opera, and operetta throughout the USA and beyond.
Tickets are available by visiting Ovation Tix or by calling (212) 352-3101. Demas and Rice extend a special discount to MAC and fellow AEA members.
The exact address is 407 West 42nd Street (downstairs).