Connect with us

Cabaret

Political Idol 2020 Stings and Sings Silly and Strong in a Stream of Parody and Party Politics

Published

on

Everything’s coming up Neurosis.” I hear that, and can totally relate to that sentiment. In the same performance realm of Forbidden Broadway, writer Robert Yarnall and Marc Emory, alongside director Michael Goldfried and music directer Anessa Marie, have crafted a zoomed-in timely and farcically fun musical parody Political Idol 2020 that makes its way most giddily onto our laptop just a week before Election Day. It’s totally silly and almost ridiculous in its playful wide political swings as it tries to be topical and relevant while also witty and irreverent. Filled to the drunken rim with clever twists and turns, it serves up a somewhat lighter and fluffier version of what Randy Rainbow does so impeccably well – although I must say that Randy‘s lyrics seem to sting and sing with a higher level of creativity and cleverness (I mean, check this Patti LuPone duet out right now if you haven’t seen it already). 

Hosted by a bespeckled faux Oprah Winfrey (Davis), with constant interruptions by an orange Halloween-faced Donald Trump (Foster), the goofy characterizations portrayed by a game cast of vocally talented performers, are flung fast and furious. This is all being played out inside a makeshift singing competition where the winner takes the White House and the loser, well hopefully, wastes away in Mar-a-Lago-Ville (or prison, if it was up to me). Singing crafty lyrically-altered medleys of easily recognizable famous songs, the stars of the 2020 campaign season including Melania Trump (Antolik), Joe Biden (Foster), Amy Klobuchar (Antolik), Elizabeth Warren (Antolik), Nancy Pelosi (Antolik), Kimberly Guilfoyle (Antolik), Kamala Harris (Davis), Michelle Obama (Davis), Bill Barr (DiSalle), Mitch McConnell (DiSalle), Mayor Pete (Yarnall), and Bernie Sanders (Yarnall), find zingers and twists on musical phrases at every turn.  It’s definitely left-leaning in its allegiance (although never enough for this Canadian), but finds a balance that is both comfortable and not for us big city liberals to hang out in.

Political Idol 2020 is nothing new, but it does find a fun wacky 45-minute playlist of sixteen lyrically altered songs that point their jabs clearly, anchored inside some classic melodies, such as a deliciously designed “I Really Need Your Vote” (“I Hope I Get It” from A Chorus Line),  along with “Strangers on the Right” (“Strangers in the Night”), a sassy and smart “Seasons Of Trump” (Jonathan Larson’s “Seasons of Love” from “Rent”), a zingy “It’s Diversion” (Madonna’s “Like a Virgin”), “Fake” (Elton John’s “I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues”), and the wickedly wise Kamala Medley, delightfully squeezed out of Culture Club’s “Karma Chameleon” plus many more, with the only response being, Yes, “We Love You, Kamala.” And please don’t “repress yourself.”

The cast sings out strong, giving a much needed vocal kick to the fun mash-ups created for this comical tidbit. Performing with glee and good spirit are Lara Buck Antolik (Film: Lady Hunters), Enga Davis (Broadway: One Mo’ Time), Joe DiSalle, Scott Foster, and Robert Yarnall, The creative team, including Sara Jean Tosetti (Costume Designer), Quentin Madia (Choreography), James Rushin (Audio Engineer), Bruno-Pierre Houle (Virtual Production Designer),  LCM247 (Video Production and Editing), Will Chaloner (Production Supervisor), Leah Michalos (Director Marketing), and LDK Productions/ Lisa Dozier King (General Management), has some playful fun with the straight-forward parody, with Marc Emory and Olson Rohdes (Executive Producers), and LCM247’s Patrick Heaphy (Producer), delivering the goods with crisp clear connotations, gifting us some relief from the tension of the week that lies ahead. I still have a hard time listening to that Orange Monster and his crew, even in playful jest, say those things, but all and all, it made me smile, against all the odds of the news cycle that keeps smashing us over the head day in and day out. This could help you survive the week ahead, although a good dose of Halloween “Hocus Pocus” on Disney+ or In Search of the Sanderson Sisters: A Hocus Pocus Hulaween Takeover this Friday night might do the trick (or treat) just as well, or even a bit wiser.

My love for theater started when I first got involved in high school plays and children's theatre in London, Ontario, which led me—much to my mother’s chagrin—to study set design, directing, and arts administration at York University in Toronto. But rather than pursuing theater as a career (I did produce and design a wee bit), I became a self-proclaimed theater junkie and life-long supporter. I am not a writer by trade, but I hope to share my views and feelings about this amazing experience we are so lucky to be able to see here in NYC, and in my many trips to London, Enlgand, Chicago, Toronto, Washington, and beyond. Living in London, England from 1985 to 1986, NYC since 1994, and on my numerous theatrical obsessive trips to England, I've seen as much theater as I can possibly afford. I love seeing plays. I love seeing musicals. If I had to choose between a song or a dance, I'd always pick the song. Dance—especially ballet—is pretty and all, but it doesn’t excite me as, say, Sondheim lyrics. But that being said, the dancing in West Side Story is incredible! As it seems you all love a good list, here's two. FAVORITE MUSICALS (in no particular order): Sweeney Todd with Patti Lupone and Michael Cerveris in 2005. By far, my most favorite theatrical experience to date. Sunday in the Park with George with Jenna Russell (who made me sob hysterically each and every one of the three times I saw that production in England and here in NYC) in 2008 Spring Awakening with Jonathan Groff and Lea Michele in 2007 Hedwig and the Angry Inch (both off-Boadway in 1998 and on Broadway in 2014, with Neal Patrick Harris, but also with Michael C. Hall and John Cameron Mitchell, my first Hedwig and my last...so far), Next To Normal with Alice Ripley (who I wish I had seen in Side Show) in 2009 FAVORITE PLAYS (that’s more difficult—there have been so many and they are all so different): Angels in American, both on Broadway and off Lettice and Lovage with Dame Maggie Smith and Margaret Tyzack in 1987 Who's Afraid of Virginai Woolf with Tracy Letts and Amy Morton in 2012 Almost everything by Alan Ayckbourn, but especially Woman in Mind with Julia McKenzie in 1986 And to round out the five, maybe Proof with Mary Louise Parker in 2000. But ask me on a different day, and I might give you a different list. These are only ten theatre moments that I will remember for years to come, until I don’t have a memory anymore. There are many more that I didn't or couldn't remember, and I hope a tremendous number more to come. Thanks for reading. And remember: read, like, share, retweet, enjoy. For more go to frontmezzjunkies.com

Cabaret

Cabaret and Talks For June

Published

on

92 Street Y: 1395 Lexington Ave. 6/1 – 3: Wonder of Wonders: Celebrating Sheldon Harnick; 6/11: Daddio: Advance Screening and Dakota Johnson in Conversation with MTV’s Josh Horowitz; 6/15: An Evening with Noah Hawley with Special Guest Jon Hamm and 6/20: Dr. Anthony Fauci in Conversation with Lawrence O’Donnell: On Call.

Birdland Jazz: 315 West 44 St. Every Monday at 5:30 Vince Giordano and The Nighthawks and 9:30pm Jim Caruso’s Cast Party; Every Tuesday at 8:30pm The Lineup with Susie Mosher; 6/1, 8, 15, 22, 29: 6/3: Gabrielle StravellI; 6/3: Gabrielle Stravelli & Billy Stritch “Frequently Secretly Fond of Each Other”; 6/10: Susan Mack “No More Blues”; 6/1: Eric Comstock & Barbara Fasano: “Sun! Skin! Sin! Sinatra!”; 6/ 18 – 19: Stacey Kent and 6/24: Clint Holmes in “Icons”.

Clint Holmes

Cafe Carlyle: 35 E 76th St. 6/1: Ethan Slater; 6/4 – 8 Rumer Willis and 6/11 -24: Aaron Tveit.

Rumer Willis

Carnegie Hall: 881 7th Ave at 57th St. 6/20: FOLLIES in Concert

Norbert Leo Butz, Christine Ebersole, Santino Fontana, Jennifer Holliday, Norm Lewis, Donna Murphy

Chelsea Table + Stage: Hilton Fashion District Hotel, 152 W 26th St. 6/14: Randy Edelman.

Randy Edelman Photo by Jeff Smith

Don’t Tell Mama: 343 W. 46 St. 6/2: Lucille Carr-Kaffashan.

The DJango: 2 Avenue of the Americas.

Klea Blackhurst

Dizzys Club Coca Cola: Frederick P. Rose Hall, Broadway at 60th Street. 6/9: Songbook Sundays Johnny Mercer with Billy Stritch, Klea Blackhurst,Gabrielle Stravelli and more.

54 Below: 254 West 54 St.  6/1: Tony Danza: Standards & Stories; 6/2: Lea DeLaria: Brunch Is Gay; 6/6 – 8 and 10 – 13: Norm Lewis: Summertime (Special Tony Edition; 6/14- 15: Gavin Lee: Steppin’ Out With Fred Astaire; 6/18 and 26: Christine Andreas: Paris to Broadway; 6/21 – 25: Linda Eder and  6/28 – 29: Jackie Evancho: My Story

Linda Eder

The Green Room 42: 570 10th Ave. 6/17: Nicholas King; 6/20: Sally Mayes; 6/23: Reeve Carney and 6/29: Corinna Sowers Adler, Marieann Meringolo and Sandra Piller.

Reeve Carney – Photo by Matthew Tammaro

Sony Hall: 235 W. 46th St. 6/2:Paula Cole; 6/14: Eliane Elias and 6/27: Gino Vannelli.

Eliane Elias

Theatre at the West Bank Café: 407 West 42 St. Every Saturday and Sunday Lucky Cheng’s Drag Brunch; 6/12: Craig Rubano.

The Triad: 158 W. 72 St. 6/19: Timeless Songs from the Silver Screen;

The Town Hall: 123 West 43rd Street. 6/3: Let’s Put On A Show! 35 Years Of Irish Rep Musicals! and 6/20 – 21: Samara Joy

Continue Reading

Cabaret

My View: Jimmie Herrod….America’s Got Talent!

Published

on

Our table of four “judges” at 54 Below (Steven Reineke, Eric Gabbard, Storm Large, Eda Sorokoff) didn’t have a Golden Buzzer to ring for “America’s Got Talent” winner Jimmie Herrod last night, but we all gave this super singer a standing ovation and a thumbs up at the conclusion of his solo Cabaret debut in Broadway’s Supper Club.

Jimmie’s tonal dexterity, vocal chords that have no limits, and imaginative jazz interpretations of Broadway and Pop standards  thrilled a room full of music lovers.

Not everyone in America has talent, but Jimmie Herrod sure has!

From blowing the judges away as a finalist on “America’s Got Talent” to playing Angel in the symphonic version of Rent at The Kennedy Center, and touring the world as a member of Pink Martini, Jimmie shared his favorite songs and stories in an unforgettable intimate and personal show. 

Alex Boniello (Dear Evan Hansen, Deaf West Spring Awakening) was Jimmie’s special guest

About Jimmie Herrod

Jimmie is a vocalist who brings singular power an expressivity to his global career as a singer, songwriter, and entertainer on stage and screen. As a solo artist with a uniquely high vocal range, Jimmie has appeared to critical and audience acclaim multiple times with the National Symphony Orchestra at The Kennedy Center, including on the nationally broadcast “Joni Mitchell Songbook,” and alongside luminaries such as Renee Fleming and Raul Midon.

Recent appearances include solo debuts with the St. Louis, Nashville, and Houston Symphony Orchestras, starring alongside vocalist Storm Large in a weekend of concerts with the Oregon Symphony, and touring the globe as a member of the band Pink Martini.  Herrod first came to worldwide prominence as a finalist on the NBC nationally broadcast television show, “America’s Got Talent,” earning the rare “Golden Buzzer recognition from actress Sofia Vergara and returning the following year on the AGT All-Star series. IN 2024 Jimmie launches his first national tour as a solo artist, in support of his forthcoming full-length album.

JIMMIE HERROD, STEVEN REINEKE, The New York Pops, ERIC GABBARD

JIMMIE HERROD

JIMMIE HERROD

JIMMIE HERROD

JIMMIE HERROD

ALEX BONIELLO

JIMMIE HERROD & ALEX BONIELLO

STANDING OVATION

EDA SOROKOFF, STEVEN REINEKE, STORM LARGE, ERIC GABBARD

STORM LARGE & EDA SOROKOFF

STORM LARGE & STEPHEN SOROKOFF

Continue Reading

Cabaret

Finding Words for Spring 

Published

on

And who better to lead a search like this than every lyricist’s best friend, the incomparable Steve Ross!  Dressed all in green like a musical Pied Piper, Steve began our adventure with “Mountain Greenery”, one of the best examples of the verbal dexterity of Larry Hart.  Having arrived in this luscious verdancy, Steve highlighted the ever-clever Alan Jay Lerner by slowing his delivery a tad so we could savor every word in “Hurry, It’s Lovely Up Here”.  Those words, like all that Steve served up, deserved the attention he gave them. It’s amazing that even though one has heard a song many times, a thoughtful delivery can reveal more than had been realized. Johnny Mercer had his moment for admiration with “I’m Old Fashioned”, which curiously has the hallmarks of a lyric by Oscar Hammerstein.   

Mr. H. joined the party when Steve made “Younger Than Springtime” sound so full of yearning yet with a touch of sorrow.  Steve’s patter is always welcome for not only his wry humor but his instructive sensibility. He related how when Oscar Hammerstein declined the opportunity to write the lyrics for Annie, Get Your Gun, the torch was handed to Irving Berlin. He eagerly stepped up to the proverbial plate and in true Berlin fashion grand-slammed yet another terrific score. The contemporary of Noel Coward, Ivor Novello, dropped by with his “We’ll Gather Lilacs”, a wistful song that evoked the hopeful longing of the WW II years. 

A personal highlight was Steve’s rendition of “Send in the Clowns”—not a song evoking Spring, for sure, but one that deals with the complications that can ensue in falling in love.  Steve’s attention to one word in the lyric made the sardonic pathos of the situation almost palpable. (No, I won’t reveal the word—you must hear it for yourself next time!) And such is the magic of Steve Ross. He sprinkled this magical evening with several songs made famous by Fred Astaire and others in films which rounded out the evening beautifully. 

Steve swung into optimistic territory with “Make Our Garden Grow” adding a delicate touch of “‘Tis the Gift To be Simple”– a perfect ending to this show. But wait—there was more! He coaxed us into a sing-along to celebrate Eliza Doolittle Day, May 20. How “Lover-ly” it was! 

Any Steve Ross show is worth the time of any aficionado of the Great American Songbook. This show was especially notable. Each lyric shined under Steve’s masterful interpretation, and the entire room was silent throughout—nary a cough or ice-cube tinkle to be found. We were spellbound. If you are in the market for a spa treatment for the heart/soul, catch Steve’s next show. They don’t call him the Crown Prince of Cabaret for nothing! 

 

Continue Reading

Cabaret

My View: Julie Wilson Honored By The Mabel Mercer Foundation at The Pierre Hotel

Published

on

Cabaret luminaries, supporters, and officers of The Mabel Mercer Foundation gathered at The Pierre Hotel last night to celebrate the100th anniversary of the birth year of cabaret legend Julie Wilson.  Julie’s dominant presence in the cabaret world over the many decades led her to be called “The Queen of Cabaret”. Cabaret’s current guiding light, KT Sullivan, the artistic director of The Mabel Mercer Foundation hosted the evening’s celebration which included a gourmet buffet followed by performances from some of cabaret’s most beloved artists and friends of Julie Wilson.  Entertaining the Gala audience of music connoisseurs and honoring the legacy of Julie Wilson were: Karen Akers, Carole J. Bufford, Melissa Errico, Jeff Harnar, Sue Matsuki, MOIPEI ( Mary, Maggy & Marta), Sidney Myer, Craig Rubano, KT Sullivan and Amra-Faye Wright…. John Weber (piano) and Steve Doyle (Bass).

An especially emotional moment of the evening was actor Holt McCallany (son of Julie Wilson) paying tribute to his mother and singing “I’m Becoming My Mother”.

HOLT McCALLANY (son of Julie Wilson)

KT SULLIVAN, artistic director The Mabel Mercer Foundation

KT SULLIVAN

CAROLE J. BUFFORD

CAROLE J. BUFFORD

MELISSA ERRICO

MELISSA ERRICO

JEFF HARNAR

JEFF HARNAR

SUE MATSUKI

SUE MATSUKI

CRAIG RUBANO

CRAIG RUBANO

KAREN AKERS

KAREN AKERS

SIDNEY MYER

SIDNEY MYER

AMRA-FAYE WRIGHT

AMRA-FAYE WRIGHT

HOLT McCALLANY

HOLT McCALLANY

HOLT McCALLANY (son of Julie Wilson)

MOIPEI

MOIPEI

PATRICK McENROE, KT SULLIVAN,MELISSA ERRICO,MOIPEI

HOLT McCALLANY & CAROLE J. BUFFORD

MOIPEI & HOLT McCALLANY

EDA SOROKOFF & ELIZABETH SULLIVAN (Happy 94th Birthday)

MELISSA ERRICO PATRICK McENROE, KT SULLIVAN

JEFF HARNAR & MOIPEI

HEATHER SULLIVAN, HOWARD MORGAN, Chairman of the board Mabel Mercer Foundation, ELANOR MORGAN

KT SULLIVAN, ELIZABETH SULLIVAN, HEATHER SULLIVAN,Dr. Patrick Sullivan

KT SULLIVAN

KT SULLIVAN, PETER HANSON, Linda Hanson

EDA SOROKOFF & CRHRISTEL IBSEN

MONAH GETTNER,KT SULLIVAN, ALAN GETTNER

BRIAN KALTNER, Board Member Mabel Mercer Foundation & DEBBIE DAMP

HOWARD MORGAN, KT SULLIVAN, CAROLE J. BUFFORD,MOIPEI, MATHEW INGE

PATRICK McENROE & MELISSA ERRICO

KT SULLIVAN & STEPHEN SOROKOFF

Continue Reading

Cabaret

Karen Mason and Louis Rosen

Published

on

Karen Mason and Louis Rosen met back in the 70s in Chicago. Karen was a young singer accompanied by a the incomparable pianist-songwriter Brian Lasser. He was close friends with guitarist, pianist-songwriter, Louis Rosen. Mason and Lasser moved to New York and two years later Rosen was there as well. A little over ten years later Lasser died of AIDS. Rosen and Mason have made sure that Lasser’s music is remembered.

Karen Mason

Louis Rosen

Mason and Rosen are back together again celebrating nearly 50 years of collaboration and friendship. The evening is stripped down bare with Rosen on guitar and piano and Mason and Rosen on vocals. Most of the material is Rosen’s songs many from his most recent albums, but added are a few selections by  Lasser, that make you know he died way to soon.

Karen Mason

Louis Rosen

Rosen’s music is what singer/songwriters use to write, full of blues riffs, uplifting swing, folk melodies, jazz cadences and soulful powerful lyrics. It is like an old soul left their words to impart. This night so made me want to hear his newest album “Love and Ashes”. Rosen is a musicians musician.

“A master interpreter… Mason produces a depth of sound and brilliance of color that converge in the work of very few singers!” (Chicago Tribune)

Mason has an authenticity to her voice. She is a storyteller, rich in tone and truly excels on Lasser’s music. She is a belter at heart, but Rosen’s music has her venerable and exposed, which is a new side to her art.

It is always wonderful to watch two artists collaborate,

Luba Mason and Karen Mason

Louis Rosen

Karen Mason and Louis Rosen: Ages Since the Last Time: Chelsea Table + Stage, 152 West 26th Street.

Continue Reading

Trending

Copyright © 2023 Times Square Chronicles

Times Square Chronicles