to the Judy Bayley Theatre the other evening to see and listen to songstress
Lezlie Anders perform some of the music once sung by the legendary Peggy Lee,
and went home with a feeling that I had actually spent another evening with Ms.
Anders and her fantastic husband, Buddy Greco, took two years to create the
concept of "Fever" and it shows! It is one of the best "tribute shows" (I'm
taking liberty here) I have had the pleasure to see, as well as a work of love
for a wonderful lady who graced the stages of the world for over 50 years and
passed into Musical Heaven earlier this year. It is a play dedicated to the
"Lady of Song," but very lovingly and simply presented, as she would want it.
Ms. Lee was a songstress, a composer and just a great woman. Between the two of
them, Buddy and Lezlie, they have captured some of the moments of her life in
song, beginning in the 40's and working forward to her final days on stage.
What also makes this also very interesting is the little intimate bits of
information the two pass on between songs.
the moment the curtain went up to the final number it was 90 plus minutes of
great Big Band music. Greco and arranger Joe Lano, of course, had some fantastic
music to work with and the special arrangements the two men created for Ms.
Anders were out of sight. Buddy, who actually began his illustrious career on
the piano at age four and who, in 1951, joined the Benny Goodman band as a
pianist / singer (Peggy Lee joined the same band in 1941) was in charge of the
University of Nevada at Las Vegas Jazz Ensemble. The 14 wonderfully prepared
musicians along with Greco's longtime friend John Nasshan on drums got it
swinging with a great overture. Ms. Ander's first selection, "Why Don't You Do Right" was performed in
an elegant gold gown (one of four beautiful gowns worn during the evening),
followed by "It's a Good Day" with Greco following up with a medley of jazz
tunes. Some of the songs such as "Manana", "Golden Earrings", "When in Rome"
and "Big Spender" had dancers Dolly Kelepecz, David Scala and Marco Westwood
joining Lezlie on stage.
were many moments where I felt the lady on stage had actually metamorphosed
herself into the Lady she was portraying. One of those dramatic moments occurred when she sang a song from the
Jack Webb movie "Pete Kelly's Blues" (Ms. Lee was nominated for an Oscar),
"Sing a Rainbow." It was beautiful! Buddy showed why is considered one of the
best jazz pianists in the business today with a musical rendition of "Just One
of Those Things," followed by the title song "Fever" performed by Ms. Anders in
a flaming red gown.
final two songs of the 22 plus musical selections picked to depict Ms. Lee's
career (of course they had to eliminate a bunch) were just magnificently
performed by Lezlie. "Is That All There Is" was a moment one does not want to
have come to an end. She closed out the evening with "I'll Be Seeing You,"
which brought the audience to its feet.
to Buddy and Lezlie plans call for them to take "Fever" to the four corners of
the world beginning next year. This year, between their own individual tour
dates, they will present it at a few select cities back east.
I can say is if you're ever in a city where "Fever" is being performed by
Lezlie Anders and Buddy Greco do yourself a big favor. Get a ticket and go
watch two musical magicians transform your thoughts back to a time when Ms.
Peggy Lee graced the stages of the world.
it for this week. I';m outa here!
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