Monday, November 30, 2009

Life Is A Cabaret - Cabaret Reviews

Love Is A Poverty You Can Sell: A Special Cabaret Homage to the Music and Musical Influence of Kurt Weill - Soup Can Theatre at the Bread & Circus - Toronto, ON
Presented Nov. 27-28 2009

An Evening With Ewalt and Walker: Just A Couple Of Dudes Who Like To Write Songs - Playwrights Horizon - New York, NY
Presented Jun. 15 2009

BARE’s Big Broadway Bender Cabaret - Buddies in Bad Times Theatre - Toronto, ON
Presented Jun. 23, 2009

I may be gay and I may love theatre but I've never really gone to many cabarets. Partly because I never think I'll enjoy them, and partly because the ones I think I will, are always in New York on days I'm not there. (Like Jonathan Groff and Lea Michelle's cabaret show this past weekend)

But a new upstart called Soup Can Theatre in Toronto has put together a wonderful little evening in the intimate Bread & Circus (where My Mother's Lesbian Jewish Wiccan Wedding made it's Fringe debut before moving to its current larger remount) brilliantly called Love Is A Poverty You Can Sell.

While the evening still has its rough young edges, it's a fun showcase for some young local actors to sing some Kurt Weill (or songs in the same vein) and tell some German stories. In fact, with the amusing "Geh-mahn" hosts Ryan Anning (who could step right into Alan Cumming's spot in Cabaret) and Scott Dermody (who has absolutely perfect comic timing (seriously, someone to watch out for!)), at it's best, the evening is like a step back in time to those cool Cabaret bars from... well... Cabaret. For a few moments, I thought I'd leave the cabaret and step right out into 1930's Berlin and not 2009 Toronto.

And the show was at it's best with its strongest singers. To be honest, I thought the boys edged out the girls in singing prowess, with Arthur Wright in particular stealing the show. I also particularly enjoyed Jonathan Tam and Hayley Preziosi's performances, while Mark Gough nicely started and finished the show with "The Balled of Mack the Knife". While I wasn't a fan of The Threepenny Opera, I find of all people, Kurt Weill music seems to work even better when out of context (even though usually I prefer a storyline to my shows, again, why I'm usually apprehensive about cabaret's).

Back in June on my trip to New York, I also caught a concert show of the songs by a young writing team of Kyle Ewalk and Michael I. Walker. To be honest, I have no idea who these guys are but the cast featured some young Broadway faves including Matt Doyle (Gossip Girl, Spring Awakening, Bye Bye Birdie), Adam Kantor (Rent), Jackie Burns (Hair), and Stephanie Umoh (Ragtime).

It was a nice intro to Ewalt and Walker's catchy and funny tunes and the New York cast proved why many are on Broadway. The power and perfection of so many of the voices made it a great night. In addition to the singers above, I particularly want to note Guy Olivieri and would love to see him in a show in the future.

Check out some videos from the night at the bottom of the post.

Back in June, I also checked out a Toronto Pride Week Benefit put on by the Toronto cast of Bare, let by their young director Brian Waters. They basically did a Broadway backwards sort of thing, with both the cast and crew taking part. Nichola Lawrence (who played Sister Chantelle), musical director Chris Tsujiuchi and assistant director Ryan Blair were particular standouts. Leads Wade Muir and Graham Parkhurst (Peter and Jason) did a great rendition of "What Is This Feeling?" from Wicked.

Here's some videos from An Evening With Ewalt and Walker: Just A Couple Of Dudes Who Like To Write Songs

Matt Doyle singing "Fat Old Men" by Ewalt and Walker:

Matt Doyle singing "The One Who Ran Away" by Ewalt and Walker:

Jackie Burns singing "Press Pause" by Ewalt and Walker:

Adam Kantor singing "Plus One" from "The Making of Madeline Moore" by Ewalt and Walker:

Vance at

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