Melinda Schneider has throughout the years performed the songs of Doris Day and it was only fitting that she paid tribute again to the much-loved icon of the 40s and 50s since her passing in May this year. A Farewell to Doris is the ultimate acknowledgement and appreciation to an artist that has left us with a legacy of unforgettable songs. When 60 years later the kids of today are still singing Que Sera Sera, you can safely make the claim Doris Day is a legend!
With a large body of work to choose from it was impossible to pack them in to an almost two-hour show but Schneider makes sure all the big hits are there helped by the fantastic Young at Heart Orchestra led by Musical Director Michael Harding, the show is a magical ride into the romantic and enchanting side of Doris Day.
Day’s early career focused on the Big Band era and the swing was in full force with Schneider giving life to songs like Shaking the Blues Away and Shanghai while slowing it down with Sentimental Journey. The loudest cheers were reserved for favourites from the ever-popular Calamity Jane movie Just Blew in from the Windy City, The Deadwood Stage (Whip-Crack-Away), The Black Hills of Dakota and Secret Love.
There were plenty of duets with the charming Rohan Browne on songs like The Pyjama Game, Hey There and With a Song in My Heart. A little dance between Schneider and Browne set the tone for the Moonlight Medley; songs from the movies On Moonlight Bay and By the Light of the Silvery Moon. Finishing off the first half of the show with a song from Day’s favourite singer and her biggest influence, Ella Fitzgerald with the 1936 hit You’ll Have to Swing It (Mr Paganini).
While the rumba beats of Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps made you want to get up and dance, Schneider knows too well the essence of her idol and the audience lapped up each and every moment cheering on another one of Day’s popular songs.
A beautiful and solemn moment of the show with Schneider’s song Wish You Were Here written about the loss of her Father but relevant to fans of Doris Day ”they say the pain will fade, a little more each year, and darling, wish you were here.”
While most of the hit songs and big box office movies projected a wholesome image for Day, Schneider provided some insight to the turbulent times of her life with stories in between songs. Day lived a hard and wonderful life with a legacy that will last many lifetimes.
The love and admiration that Schneider has for Doris Day is at the heart of A Farewell to Doris. It’s a celebration of a wonderful life of a dearly loved and missed musical legend. The audience delighted in nostalgic frenzy with every hit. None more so that the last song of the night and a fitting end to the night with Que Sera Sera.
Live Review by Anastasia Lambis