Hoagy Carmichael & Friends – Crazy Coqs, London

Reviewer: Jane Darcy

Performers: Lillias White and Billy Stritch

Hoagy Carmichael’s melody for his 1927 Stardust embodies so much that is enduring about love songs from the Great American Songbook. The lyrics by Mitchell Parish include: ‘High up in the sky the little stars climb/ Always reminding me that we’re apart’. Performed at Crazy Coqs by Lillias White and Billy Stritch, we are transported immediately to the dreamland Stardust evokes. Carmichael’s fellow student, Stuart Gorrell described the tune as sounding like ‘dust from stars drifting down through the summer sky.’

It’s one of a number of hit songs performed by Lillias White and pianist and Billy Stritch in Hoagy Carmichael & Friends, creating a bit of Broadway magic in the intimate setting of Crazy Coqs. It’s one of their three shows currently playing (see The Reviews Hub reviews of Lillias White Sings Broadway and An Evening with Billy Stritch). This show celebrates the work of songwriter extraordinaire Hoagy Carmichael and that of some friends, including Cy Coleman, Johnny Mercer and Comden and Green.

Multi-awarding-winning Broadway star Lillias White, whose credits include Cats, Chicago and Barnum, has an incomparably rich expressive voice, with an extraordinary range and huge warmth. She gives real playfulness to Rockin’ Chair and sultry sexiness to The Nearest of You’. She chats easily with the audience, confiding she’s single. The urbane Billy Stritch accompanies her on the piano, as well as singing solo, giving the audience fascinating titbits and introducing us to Carmichael’s son, Hoagy Carmichael Jr. Ian Fleming apparently said he imagined James Bond as looking like Hoagy Carmichael.

Other favourites include Carmichael’s I get Along Without You Very Well, based on a poem by Jane Brown Thompson and his 1941 hit Skylark with lyrics by Johnny Mercer. White and Stritch perform another Mercer song, Goody Goody, with melody by Matty Malneck Each song is glorious. It’s a gorgeous evening in an intimate setting

Runs until 22 April 2022 

The Reviews Hub Score

Gorgeous, intimate evening

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The Reviews Hub London is under the acting editorship of Richard Maguire. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

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