BWW Review: Ana Gasteyer Brings Holiday Hilarity To Joe's Pub With Two Essential Ingredients, SUGAR & BOOZE
Heigh-Ho Friends & "Family"! Bobby Patrick your RAINBOW Reviewer here. Putting the silent T in CABARET to bring you all the T.
From the moment Ana Gasteyer made her way through the audience to the stage at Joe's Pub Saturday night, you knew you were in for a FAB and funny time. After all, me dears, her new holiday album, SUGAR & BOOZE, mixes some perennial secular seasonal faves with original songs of her own twisty comic composition. Joined on the stage by the ever FAB Julian Fleisher, whom she describes as her "partner in crime" and her principle arranger/producer for this new album, Ms. G Kicked off with the familiar I'VE GOT MY LOVE TO KEEP ME WARM, but then went right into an original, meta-titled meta-tune about the meta woes of writing a meta song for Christmas called NOTHING RHYMES WITH CHRISTMAS. Leading into her THE MAN WITH THE BAG, Gasteyer called out, "Let's sing something loud!" and loud she was. Displaying her dazzling pipes throughout the evening, one can understand why she has been tapped to play in the televised musicals A CHRISTMAS STORY LIVE and GREASE LIVE, as well as Showtime's film of the hysterical REEFER MADNESS, and even done turns as WICKED's green girl, Elphaba, in Chicago and on the Broadway, but it boggles the mind as to why no one has built her a Broadway vehicle of her own to take her to TONY Town. She certainly has the chops for it, let me tell you.
Along with her singing and acting and comedy and improv and fast-talking stand up talents, all of which were on display at lightning speed on the night (asking Santa for a Sister-Wife and making funnies even out of her mistakes on stage) Gasteyer's gifts as a songwriter seem to be as unsurpassed as the rest of her skills. Her album's title song SUGAR & BOOZE is a jazzy paean to all things holidays that mix with these two essential ingredients. Of course, Ana took a good part of her 90 minutes to talk out her therapy with us ticket-buying public types, and not a beat or laugh did she miss. Poking fun at the season, herself and all of us, her bits were pithy, her songs were singy and her belting was unbelted, thrilling her audience, all the while bringing the house down with laughter.The most wonderful thing about Ana Gasteyer's SUGER & BOOZE show: she always just seemed to be talking to the audience in a rapid-fire but casual way that disarmed the crowd, then nailed them with zingers they did not see coming. Unapologetically taking glances here and there at her setlist and then picking up with an, "Oh Yeah... that's where we are," she reveled in moments of imperfection that all great comics know are comedy GOLD, and mine that gold she did, throughout her performance. Sharing stories about putting together one of those awful holiday letters because she'd "Just had a baby and needed to show off," through the terrible year of the JibJab incident, to the mix up one year that printed 250 postcards from an online service with someone else's boilerplate greeting that would do nothing but bum everybody out, she lead perfectly into another self-penned ballad BLUE BLACK FRIDAY. This slow, sultry torch song with a serious jazz club tempo and tune, killed it with lyrics that laid them in the aisles. Surprise! Joking about her parents paying for the lessons, La Gasteyer whipped out a violin and accompanied Fleischer with a Jack Benny-like skill as he sang the cut verse from everyone's favorite holiday song, HAVE YOURSELF A MERRY LITTLE CHRISTMAS, the original lyrics of which our lady of the Garland (Judy that is) asked Hugh Martin to rewrite because they were too dark even for her.
So, my lovelies, clearly this is a rave about an incredibly talented singer who made her way into our lives as a comic with a gift for zany and a head full of characters. If you can find a ticket to her next outing at Joe's Pub, we suggest you do because Bobby gives Ana Gasteyer 5 out of 5 rainbows.
*BTW Dearlings, all photos here by yours truly, Bobby Patrick!