David Shire and Richard Maltby Jr are one of the most respected lyricist/composer teams on Broadway. Their writing is somewhere between Sondheim and Jerry Herman, although admittedly that leaves an awful lot of room. Shire won an Oscar for Norma Rae whilst Maltby penned the lyrics for Miss Saigon. Between them they created a truck load of wonderful music and a musical revue seemed the natural conclusion. Starting Here, Starting Now first played off-Broadway in 1977. It's a patchwork of sophisticated, quick-patter songs about love, life and relationships performed by two women and a single man.
The songs may not be immediately familiar, since many came from Shire & Maltby's back catalogue of un-produced work. Shire & Maltby are rare visitors in the UK, so you may not have had much chance to catch one of their collaborations. However, Barbra Streisand has recorded nearly half a dozen of their songs, including the title number 'Starting Here, Starting Now'. What's good enough for Babs is certainly good enough for me.
The songs range from tender ballads to hysterical husband-hunting laments. Quirky comedy moments like 'Crossword Puzzle' stand adjacent to powerful rants like 'I Don't Remember Christmas'. The production numbers like 'Travel' are instantly catchy and to be honest the hour and 20 minutes flew by all too quickly.
The only boy in the line up, Anton Tweedale has a unique vibrato voice. It probably has the most depth of character of the three singers, although his weak spot is the choreography. Eva Traynor's powerful vocals were built for a Broadway stage, rich in texture and able to handle this material with ease. Lucy Page's voice is more delicate at times - almost operatic - but also able to belt out the lyrics for 'I'm Going To Make You Beautiful' with a glint of madness in her eye.
Deep Blue Theatre have done an excellent job with this piece. The cast deliver captivating and emotional performances, along with spot on vocals. If you've seen and enjoyed other musical revues such as Putting It Together or Side By Side, then surely this is a must see.