POP MUSIC REVIEW : Spotlight on the Songs in Tribute to Cahn


Who says you need a huge amphitheater, flashy lighting and a big orchestra to produce a musical tribute? Monday’s homage to songwriter Sammy Cahn at the Directors Guild Theatre had little more than a stage, a piano and a projection screen.

But it was more than enough--in part because of the array of talent assembled to sample the extensive Cahn catalogue, in part because of the genuine affection that underscored the entire evening.

Appropriately, the songs were the real stars of the presentation. With 20 Academy Award nominations and four Oscars, Cahn, who died a year ago, was the preeminent Hollywood film lyricist. Less known is his authorship of pieces that have become American popular song classics, including “Time After Time,” “Guess I’ll Hang My Tears Out to Dry” and “I’ll Never Stop Loving You.”


Among the long list of performers, Joe Williams, with a superbly understated reading of “Call Me Irresponsible,” was a standout. So, too, were Michael Feinstein’s whimsical recollections of Cahn parodies, and Cy Coleman’s composer’s view of “Come Dance With Me” and “All My Tomorrows.” Saul Chaplin, Cahn’s first musical collaborator, accompanied Alisa Gyse on “Until the Real Thing Comes Along.” Other singers included Patty Andrews, Davis Gaines, Ray Saar and Valerie Perri.

Angie Dickinson, Dudley Moore, Morton Gould, Kelly Lange and Charles Nelson Reilly provided commentary, and Harper MacKay was the musical director.