Ed and Pet Please Starlighters
Because Petula Clark turned out to be Petula Clark and Ed McMahon turned out to be something else, Starlight Musicals has one of the most entertaining shows of this or any other season on its hands.
The first "special" of the season, which opened last night at Butler University's Hilton Brown Theater to an audience of 2,784, was split between the two stars, who never met on stage.
If McMahon was a complete surprise, Miss Clark wasn't entirely. Alone in the second part, she was everything one supposed she might be and more.
Looking lovely in a blue pleated empire gown and wish feathery blonde hair, Miss Clark, with dabs of inbetween talk couched in her native English accent, sang for all she was worth, roughly a million, for about an hour and 15 minutes without a letdown.
Of course, the favorites were her familiar hits, such items as "Color My World," "This Is My Song" and her first international splash, "Downtown," which the passing of nine years has not dimmed.
But certainly one of the highlights was her perfommance of Mary Magdalene's song from the rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar, a delivery so packed with feeling and emotion that Miss Clark seemed truly drained by it and on the point of exhaustion.
An excellent stylist with a voice like no other around these days, Miss Clark is versatile enough, capable of intimate or strenuous delivery, that it seemed altogether desirable that she simply continue singing all night.
The Starlight orchestra, conducted by Starlight's own Gordon Brown for McMahon and by Miss Clark's own director, the vastly gifted pianist Harold Wheeler in the second part, was in the finest form possible, particularly when augmented by Miss Clark's personal percussion section.
This winning double header stays through Sunday.