Three Mo’ Tenors

Three Mo’ Tenors is a concert, not a play.  If you love Pavarotti, Domingo and Carreras you will probably like these three, too.  These three being D.C. natives James Berger and Duane Moody, and Georgia native Victor Robertson.  Their rich, highly trained, operatic voices are on beat and on key with trivial exceptions.  There are two full casts as the roles are demanding and require a day of rest for each of the performers between shows.

But these brilliant voices are underutilized.  Not sure who to blame, but somewhere between musical director Keith Burton, a fine pianist, and musical supervisor and arranger Joseph Joubert, the best of these tenors is left on the shelf.

The singers sang most of the duets and trios in unison rather than harmony.  As any capable composer can tell you, if you have three fine violinists you give them counterpoint.  You give them harmonies.  It was frustrating to hear in one number after another the same rich voices on the same notes.  These men are clearly up to the challenge of harmonies, why not write them into the arrangements?

There was little subtlety, too, in most of the numbers.  Just flat out singing in full voice whether in operatic arias, blues, gospel, jazz or any of the other ten genres of music included in the show. 

These criticisms have little to do with the singers themselves.  Their personalities shone with charm and humor and their voices were worthy of the New York stage just off-Broadway.  They would blow away the best of American idol contestants and deserved better material and arrangements in which to bring their talents to the Little Shubert stage.  The show opens tonight after a short preview run.  That is Three Mo’ Tenors at the Little Shubert theatre on 42nd Street in Manhattan.