BWW Review: Kim Grogg & Kim Sutton Celebrate Women Power and the Joys of Friendship In Charming Holiday Duo Show at Don't Tell Mama
Whenever I call you friend
I believe I've come to understand
Everywhere we are
You and I were meant to be forever and ever
I think about the times to come
Knowing I will be the lucky one
Ever our love will last
I always want to call you friend
--Music by Kenny Loggins and lyrics by Melissa Manchester and Loggins
With the holiday season upon us how wonderful it is to experience the joyful celebration of friendship. In their recent sold out performance (December 17th at Don't Tell Mama), the attractive girl-power singing duo, Kim Grogg and Kim Sutton, examine the true meaning of friendship from a decidedly female point of view. Gracing the stage spectacularly dressed in shades of sparkling silver and platinum grey, these two alluring ladies begin the evening by conjuring up a bit of their own "Magic" (John Farrar). Grogg informs the audience that she and Sutton had previously met in cabaret class, but pretty much solidified their fast and furious friendship this past summer after having survived the "ultimate cabaret boot camp" at The Eugene O'Neill Cabaret Conference.
Appropriately, a spunky "Got to Get You into My Life" (John Lennon/Paul McCartney) follows as the duo comically details for the audience the clear distinction between the two in personality and musical taste. Grogg is articulate, poised, and more conservative, a lover of Cole Porter and the Gershwin's, while Sutton is a mischievous blonde bombshell and rebellious rabble-rouser, a comical funky rapper of standard tunes, with a party-girl potty-mouth proudly announcing her sexuality to the crowd. "I'm a strictly dickly kinda girl," she proclaims. Let's just say Grogg and Sutton are two vastly different women on stage, but "viva la difference!"
The ladies generously share the spotlight, first singing solo then joyfully coming together in duet. Taking her audience on an intense emotional roller coaster ride with a voice that has never sounded better, Grogg kills her first solo of the evening, the Duke Ellington/Don George classic, "I Ain't Got Nothin' But the Blues." Following with her first solo, "Touch Me In the Morning" (Michael Masser/Ron Miller), Sutton sings with a tender, surprisingly subtle sensuality (though the key sounded a bit too high vocally). In sharp contrast, Sutton next pulls out all the stops with the Gretchen Wilson 2004 country stompin' party girl anthem, "Here for The Party." Grogg follows by tackling the Burt Bacharach classic "The Look of Love." With that lovely "Follies" face of hers displayed in a single spotlight, Grogg elegantly expresses the longings of a tortured romantic.
Next, the act takes a strangely maudlin turn to the dark side with the bleakest arrangement of "Fame" (Gore/Pitchford) ever heard, leading one to conclude that "show business" must be no party for these two ladies (talk about your "Ghost of Christmas Show Biz past"). Thankfully, the next number erases all that gloom and doom with an outstanding arrangement by the evening's musical director, pianist, and backup vocalist, Tracy Stark. "The Woman Medley" includes five female powerhouse songs ("I'm Every Woman," "I'm A Woman," "Brick House," "All About That Bass," and "Sisters Are Doin' It for Themselves") that Grogg and Sutton joyfully celebrate singing in powerful harmonies to the delight of their adoring crowd. Owen Yost on bass, Donna Kelly on drums, and Andrew Gutauskas on his swingin' sax add charm and musical cheer to the evening's performance.
A highlight of the evening is "The Christmas Wrap Song," a clever parody adding a lighter touch to the evening where Sutton (dressed in an oversized hoodie wearing a "boy" cap) comically "raps" "Gonna Make You Sweat-- Everybody Dance ('Rap') Now" (Clivilles & Williams), while Grogg "wraps" actual Christmas presents in lightning quick speed, The audience loved it as they did their second Christmas selection for the evening "All I Want for Christmas Is You" (arrangement by Watts/Watkins) sung in sweet harmonies. Director Lennie Watts has taken on the task of showcasing these two immensely talented ladies by successfully displaying their good humor, passion, and joyful celebration of life as best exemplified in their closing number "Whenever I Call You Friend" (Loggins/Manchester), which engendered a well-deserved standing ovation.
Kim Grogg and Kim Sutton in Whenever I Call You Friend will have one more performance on December 28, 2015 at 7:30 pm at Don't Tell Mama. For reservations call the club at 212-757-0788 after 4 pm or go online to www.donttellmamanyc.com.
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From This Author Billie Roe