Entertainment » Music

Samson And Delilah: A Love Story

by Steven Bergman
Contributor
Friday Feb 14, 2014
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The biblical story of Samson and Delilah has been a relatively infrequent topic for musical adaptation. With the exception of Camille Saint-Saens’ opera, there haven’t been many attempts to make this "love-across-cultures" tale into a viable commodity for the stage.

Enter Ron Yatter. The former Senior Vice President of The William Morris Agency has chosen "Samson & Delilah" as the subject for his first musical attempt as creator, composer and lyricist. With the help of arrangers Vassilis Varvaresos, Elizabeth Hope, Roger Pierson and Amy Baer, Yatter has put together a concept recording featuring twelve songs from his musical. However, his lack of writing for musical theater is evident throughout the lyrics, primarily in the opening number ("When Samson is Here") and Samson’s first solo ("The Apple Of My Eye"), and though the liner notes refer to a "pop/legit" sound, the soundscape is drawn from the style of rock operas such as "Hair" and "American Idiot," and has very little in common with any "legit" works.

To play the lovers, Yatter brought in the real-life couple, and former "American Idol" finalists, Ace Young and Diana DeGarmo, hoping that the attraction of the two performers will draw attention to the recording and the production. The results are mixed. The performances border on over-indulgent, and don’t effectively draw our sympathies to either of the lovers. DeGarmo’s voice comes across as better suited for Yatter’s material than her husband’s, as too many of Young’s vocals give a whiny, immature sound to the supposed pride of Samson, while DeGarmo takes advantage of her solo opportunities, especially on "My Revenge" and her sections of "Let This Night Go On Forever."

Fans of the singers may want this collection for their enjoyment, but there is still much revision required to make these songs coherent enough to be presented on stage.

"Samson & Delilah: A Love Story" (2014 Concept Recording)
Ace Young / Diana DeGarmo
CD and Digital formats
Broadway Records

Steven Bergman is a Composer / Playwright / Performing Arts Educator based outside of Boston, MA.

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