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Review: MUSEMATCH XIV: A MUSICAL THEATER BLIND DATE Nurtures Artists and Art at The Green Room 42

Matching singers and songwriters yields some fun and frivolity at The Green Room 42.

Review: MUSEMATCH XIV: A MUSICAL THEATER BLIND DATE Nurtures Artists and Art at The Green Room 42

Sunday night Bill Coyne and Authenteur, Inc. presented MUSEMATCH XIV at The Green Room 42. That's fourteen in Roman numerals (I had to look it up). Fourteen times Mr. Coyne and his production company have produced this creative wonder, this workshop invention subtitled A MUSICAL THEATER BLIND DATE. And there's no reason why there shouldn't be a fifteenth installment, or, frankly, as many as Coyne and co. can bring themselves to make, out of thin air, for as long as they like. It is undeniably one of the most creative, original, and fun inventions to come out of the cabaret and concert community, to date. And it's always for charity. Every episode of MUSEMATCH, to date, has benefited an organization in need of funding.

The concept is a simple one: A musical theater composer/lyricist is matched with a musical theater performer, the strangers spend some time getting to know one another through a series of chats, and the songwriter creates a song based, entirely, on what they have learned about their date. When the artists have completed their mission, Mr. Coyne and the MUSEMATCH team go full-on Judy and Mickey and they put on a show. Friends and family come, of course, but after fourteen installments the organization has built up some fans of the series that come just to see and hear what the latest MUSEMATCH creations are.

Review: MUSEMATCH XIV: A MUSICAL THEATER BLIND DATE Nurtures Artists and Art at The Green Room 42 At Sunday night's concert, some thirteen new songs were presented with minimal talk time from host Coyne, who has an amiable air about him and enough experience with the show to know that his job isn't to talk - it's to set up the evening, talk about the charity, introduce the band and let the singers do their thing. And that is precisely what Coyne did, while Musical Director Natan Dame led the way, musically - the individual songwriters do not play for the actors, though they are seated out front. For sixty precise minutes, thirteen talented actors stood center stage and told their own stories, in songs written especially for them, which is a wonderful thing to be able to say, indeed, an honor. The compositions were an interesting look into who the person behind the voice is, sometimes silly, sometimes sad, maybe overwrought, quirky, or oddly interesting. While some of the songs achieved greater goals, artistically and aesthetically, there was no denying that each of the actors whose lives inspired the new works of art has every right to stand at a microphone and sing. Whether or not the songs created for MUSEMATCH have any further life, once the performance is over, is unimportant; what is important is that all of the artists have been given a safe place to stretch, to spread their wings, to grow. They have all done something, made something, and put that something in front of an audience. That's not nothing. There is merit in what happens at MUSEMATCH.

Review: MUSEMATCH XIV: A MUSICAL THEATER BLIND DATE Nurtures Artists and Art at The Green Room 42 Among the topics with which the songwriters worked were the fostering of dogs, the safety of the shower, a new niece, a father, a dentist, mountain climbing, and Target... the store, not the kind used with a weapon of any kind. Particular standouts for this writer were "Ice Cream, Soft Clothes, Sex & Connection" by Vaibu Mohan, performed by Mia Gentile (a perfect opening number for the night), a tour-de-force titled "Toothpaste" by John Coyne (no relation to Bill) that was sung by Futaba Shioda, and a VP Boyle-helmed number called "Feedback" by Ben Boecker that every actor will understand... and maybe some civilians, too. There were some especially palatable vocals from Anu Mysore on Andrew J. Hanley's "You Need/Tum Mangte Ho" and Jayke Workman blew everyone's minds with Shoshana Shattenkirk & Rob Berliner's "Chameleon Energy." Future MUSEMATCH audience members should be given fair warning that some of the actors require lyric sheets. Chances are that this happens every installment of the series - after all, these are completely new songs, and one suspects that not all the performers have their finished compositions for the same amount of time. Even those of us who frown (really frown) on cabaret shows during which actors read their lyrics can afford to be a little generous at a MUSEMATCH show - nobody but the artists themselves know what the process has been like, and a little kindness will go a long way in the name of goodwill.

During his closing remarks, MUSEMATCH Artistic Director Coyne stated that "Artists need support," and he could not be more right; that is why what Coyne and his company are offering is so important - but, also, the monies raised for organizations like ARTS IGNITE (the beneficiary of last night's concert) cannot be highlighted enough. The work that MUSEMATCH does in the name of charity is most generous and speaks volumes about the community of artists that populate New York City. When one considers the list of names of artists who are MUSEMATCH alumni and the number of shows that have been produced, it is difficult to not be both impressed and grateful. And the process is fun and fascinating, frequently yielding some good songs and stories. Thank goodness the program has found its new home at The Green Room 42 - it will be both fun and exciting to see what goodies the next installment brings. Long may the series last.

The MUSEMATCH Band is Nathan Dame on piano, Elmo Zapp on bass, AJ Jagannath on guitar, Caroline Moore on drums

Find great shows to see on the Green Room 42 website HERE.

MUSEMATCH has a Facebook page HERE.

Review: MUSEMATCH XIV: A MUSICAL THEATER BLIND DATE Nurtures Artists and Art at The Green Room 42
Mia Gentile: "Ice Cream, Soft Clothers, Sex & Connection" by Vaibu Mohan
Review: MUSEMATCH XIV: A MUSICAL THEATER BLIND DATE Nurtures Artists and Art at The Green Room 42
James Jackson Jr.: "Target" by Teresa Lotz & Naomi Matlow
Review: MUSEMATCH XIV: A MUSICAL THEATER BLIND DATE Nurtures Artists and Art at The Green Room 42
Futuba Shioda: "Toothpaste" by John Coyne
Review: MUSEMATCH XIV: A MUSICAL THEATER BLIND DATE Nurtures Artists and Art at The Green Room 42
Olivia Oguma: "A Song For Father" by Durra Leung
Review: MUSEMATCH XIV: A MUSICAL THEATER BLIND DATE Nurtures Artists and Art at The Green Room 42
Jennifer Apple: "Walter" by Michael Lapinsky
Review: MUSEMATCH XIV: A MUSICAL THEATER BLIND DATE Nurtures Artists and Art at The Green Room 42
Joshua Morgan: "Solitude Song" by Seth Christenfeld & James K. Ballard
Review: MUSEMATCH XIV: A MUSICAL THEATER BLIND DATE Nurtures Artists and Art at The Green Room 42
Beth Kirkpatrick: "Dear Katie" by Taylor Fagins & Patrick Swailes-Caldwell
Review: MUSEMATCH XIV: A MUSICAL THEATER BLIND DATE Nurtures Artists and Art at The Green Room 42
VP Boyle: "Feedback" by Ben Boecker
Review: MUSEMATCH XIV: A MUSICAL THEATER BLIND DATE Nurtures Artists and Art at The Green Room 42
Emily Esposito: "A Goddamn Mountaineer" by Chloe Geller, Hayler Goldenberg, & Julia Koyfman
Review: MUSEMATCH XIV: A MUSICAL THEATER BLIND DATE Nurtures Artists and Art at The Green Room 42
Anu Mysore: "You Need/Tum Mangte Ho" by Andrew J. Hanley
Review: MUSEMATCH XIV: A MUSICAL THEATER BLIND DATE Nurtures Artists and Art at The Green Room 42
Sara Jean Ford: "Salon Song' By Billy Recce
Review: MUSEMATCH XIV: A MUSICAL THEATER BLIND DATE Nurtures Artists and Art at The Green Room 42
Jayke Workman: "Chameleon Energy" by Shoshana Shattenkirk & Rob Berliner
Review: MUSEMATCH XIV: A MUSICAL THEATER BLIND DATE Nurtures Artists and Art at The Green Room 42
Jamie Karen: "Spaces" by Dvid Alan Thornton

Photos by Stephen Mosher


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From This Author - Stephen Mosher