Written during the pandemic and based in large part on sentiments shared with the cast by the community, PCPA’s Together is a heartfelt celebration of performing in front of live, in-person audiences. The handsome arts-and-crafts-style set provides a suitable backdrop for the many sides of musical theater expression delivered by seven members of the PCPA faculty. Although Annali Fuchs-Wackowski was unable to perform as scheduled on Friday, July 23, there was another Fuchs-Wackowski in the wings — Together’s director, Katie — ready to step in and complete the cast, the rest of whom were all longtime favorites from previous years, including Emily Trask, Kitty Balay, George Walker, Yusef Seevers, Erik Stein, and Andrew Philpot.
A pile of index cards containing remarkably eloquent responses to such questions as “What makes your heart sing?” provided all the cues this ensemble needed to show their collective talents and energy. Andrew Philpot shone as a singer in the Bobby Darin mode with a swinging version of Cy Coleman’s “The Best Is Yet to Come” early on and a moving rendition of Stephen Sondheim’s “Being Alive” later in the evening.
Kitty Balay soared through the uplift of “If You Knew My Story” from the musical Bright Star. George Walker showed off his country tenor and his guitar playing at regular intervals, and Erik Stein had the crowd roaring with his hapless persona playing against type in Michael Bublé’s “Haven’t Met You Yet.” When she wasn’t adding depth and complexity to the musical mix with her cello, Emily Trask was singing and dancing with abandon and participating in the multiple complex and often hilarious weaves performed by the ensemble. Yusef Seevers scored several of the night’s biggest responses with his deep and flexible voice, and his fluid, funky bass playing on Bill Withers’s classic “Lovely Day.” What came through more powerfully than anything else over the course of this evening was the tremendous generosity and courage of these artists. They give it everything they’ve got, and they do it together.