BWW Reviews: JOSHUA WARR Converts Cabaret Crowd Into Cult of Worshiping 'Warr'-iors at 54 Below
It's almost inconceivable that Joshua Warr, one of the current cabaret scene's truest powerhouses since his MAC award-nominated debut some seasons ago, is at once so young, so accomplished, so poised and confident, and so adept at bringing a true sense of artistic sensibility to the arena unseen since the glory days of such 1970s clubs as Reno Sweeney and The Grand Finale. But with his new show at 54 Below, he hits it out of the park at every turn.
Warr's latest effort, Love & Warr, brings the gentleman solidly and indisputably into his own as a force with which to be reckoned. Aided and abetted by director Miles Phillips and musical director Jason Wynn besides an incredible combo of musicians and backup singers, it's hard to believe that this is the same person who at the outset of his cabaret career would refer to himself as "a dancer/actor who just happens to sing." Gone are any doubts that he'll ultimately take his place among cabaret's greatest; from the moment he sets his more-than-capable feet upon the stage, the sold-out house fully realizes that they're dealing with an irrepressible object.
In a set that is thankfully-focused upon both pop and Broadway, it is a joy to watch Warr make his entrance from the back of the house in a deliciously-bejeweled floor-length jacket to the strains of Pink's "The Truth About Love" coupled with "Down With Love" by Cole Porter, through which his vocals are completely captivating. He sheds the coat after a marvelous rendition of "My Strongest Suit" from Elton John and Tim Rice's Aida to reveal a beautifully-tailored outfit, but this unto itself immediately takes a back seat to a medley of such historical classic rock hits as "The Book of Love," "Why Do Fools Fall in Love?" "Tell Him," "Shop Around," and "Stop In the Name of Love."
Additional standouts include a heart-melting "Where or When" by Rodgers and Hart, the Fine Young Cannibals' tune "Drive Me Crazy," a definitive version of "Don't Wish Too Hard" by Peter Allen and Carole Bayer Sager, and Diane Warren's "I Want Somebody." It all combines into a sumptuous salad of songwriting, and Warr emerges the perfect chef to offer up such a delicious dish.
Whence Love & Warr returns to 54 Below or elsewhere, it must be seen to be believed.
From This Author Andrew Martin