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BWW Review: Meghan Murphy Sets 54 Below On Fire with BIG RED AND THE BOYS GET YOUR HOLIDAY ON!

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BWW Review: Meghan Murphy Sets 54 Below On Fire with BIG RED AND THE BOYS GET YOUR HOLIDAY ON!

History tells of a miracle that happened on 34th street in New York City. It is a tale that many know and many love, but it is a tale from 1947. This is 2019 and, this week, the miracle was on 54th street, in the same city, a mere 20 blocks from the scene of the original revelation. And even though there was no Santa Claus at the scene of the phenomenon, there was much altruism, generosity of spirit, and cause for celebration; and celebration, there was.

The miracle was the coming of Big Red And The Boys.

Nine times Christmas has been made better by the arrival at Feinstein's/54 Below of Meghan Murphy and her Merry Band of Elves. Nine times the people of New York City have had the incomparable thrill of sitting in a theater and watching five of the most gifted musical artists Santa ever stuffed into a stocking. And nine times Big Red And The Boys has been the holiday gift supreme for those in the know, in the Season of Cheer.

And this writer is bummed out.

HOW has news of this show escaped my radar for so long? HOW was I so great a fool of fortune to miss 8 previous iterations of this holiday Festivus? HOW did Michael Buchanan, Marissa Rosen and all of my other friends know about this and neglect to tell me? I should be very cross with them all, but the well of happiness into which I have fallen at 54 Below is so deep that there is no seeming escape: after the one-two punch that was Norm Lewis: Naughty and Nice and Meghan Murphy: Big Red and The Boys there is no possible way for me to get my Scrooge on, even for a moment, for the rest of the year, Wednesday night at 54 Below has brought a new tradition to my home, one that will be observed every single year moving forward. The moment the tickets to these two shows become available, my family will book for the doubleheader of holiday magic that is Norm Lewis followed by Big Red and The Boys, for the combination of two INSANE shows of holiday transcendence is something to which one can look forward for the rest of the year.

Big Red and The Boys is a holiday show like no other. Created by Chicago-based actor Meghan Murphy, the holiday spectacle has become so popular that the show spends the month of December touring to five cities, where massive quantities of people flood the venue, like groupies of a beloved rock star... or Idina Menzel. The crowds bring the merriment with them, for most of them are already long term fans fully aware of the magic that is about to happen. Awash with the buzz of excitement and giddy with impending delirium, fans of all demographics pack 54 Below, as one imagines the crowds did when Judy Garland played Carnegie Hall: poised to party, ready to be rowdy, and euphoric with excitement as the voice announces the arrival of Meghan Murphy

Statuesque in her stilettos, Big Red is a towering inferno of talent, and her willing disciples are there, ready to be burned alive in her flaming embrace. The screams and cheers growing exponentially as the 90-minute show progresses, Big Red takes no prisoners as she travels through a seamlessly constructed program of pop music, holiday songs, innuendo, emotion, philosophy, fashion, humor, friendship and the naughtiest, nicest, most fully-realized expression of brotherhood, sisterhood, human-hood you thought you might find under your Christmas tree this season. You see, it would appear that Big Red and The Boys are the hip, cool, chic, fierce and fabulous version of the Island of Misfit Toys. More than once during her Madonna, Petula Clark, Donny Hathaway filled evening, Big Red alludes to a state of being that many know as "The Logical Family," even going so far as to say it is "my privilege, my responsibility, to create as many safe spaces for all walks of life to come in and feel loved, and feel celebrated because, call me crazy, but I really feel that we are stronger when we build each other up than when we tear each other down." Looking at Big Red and The Boys, one sees five beautiful people who have probably lived lives in which they may have been a bit too tall, perhaps a little too little, perchance a tad too creative, possibly too cerebral, maybe too larger-than-life to be accepted into certain circles; and what they did was create a band and a family where individuality rules, where uniqueness is paramount, and where love is the strongest voice.

In doing so, they have created the most beautiful voice possible.

These five musicians, these five actors, these five creative geniuses have made a show and a sound so glorious as to blow the mind. The harmonies, the music, the friendships are all outstanding, in every way. Meghan Murphy has surrounded herself with artists at the top of their game, and judging by the mutual respect and affection between them, at the top of her Christmas list. The Boys are TJ Chernick, Patrick Andrews, John Francisco, and Nick Davio and each of them is the Christmas gift of your dreams. With instrument skills beyond compare, the men are all singers of note, each of them is gregarious and funny, they are all super easy on the eye, and all four of them can totally rock a onesie. There are times when the four men get to shine in solo vocal moments, quartet mode, or even an impromptu dance between longtime besties Chernick and Andrews, and it is obvious that they are doing more than marking time while Murphy changes into one of four different amazing outfits: Big Red wants these boys to have the spotlight on them. Her love for them, her respect for their talent, her desire to hold them up to the light is an obvious part of her mission statement when creating this piece of theater. She is a pied piper in red sequins, leading the way for The Boys, her fans, and the newcomers to the tribe.

As for Murphy herself, this woman is doing what she was born to do. Her abilities as a singer cannot be quantified. With each new song, and new genre of musical choice, her range in voice and musical interests dazzle. There appears to be no octave or style which she is unwilling to attempt or unable to conquer - add to that a natural flair that has been fine-honed to the point of excellence and an ability to connect with every human within eye or earshot and the resulting magic will have you waiting around under the mistletoe after the show, hoping Meghan Murphy comes strolling by. The Lady is a most lovable woman and inspiring performer, worthy and deserving of every success and accolade she has had or will receive. Did I mention her wicked sense of humor? Yeah, there is that, too. DeLISH.

Now, what's better for a party, celebration, or show than one diva? TWO DIVAS! It can, however, become tricky, putting two divas together, and you all know what I'm talking about. No catfight or competition at this show, though, because Meghan Murphy has a wealth of sisterly love and divadoration for the guest she invites to her show every year, renowned jazz singer Grace Garland, who penned the song "Single Jingle Mingle" which the two delectable divas and four fabulous fellows perform within an inch of its life. Garland, an iconic staple of the New York City jazz scene, is a performer of such powerful presence and tremendous talent that she should be welcomed into every club in town so that her uncommon gifts can be shared everywhere. The enormity of the reaction from the crowds at 54 Below was so unprecedented that it gives rise to one simple but weighty question: when is Grace Garland going to be on one of our cabaret stages for the lovers of great singers to enjoy? #bighint

To delve deeply into the details of the show Big Red And The Boys would do a disservice to audiences who have yet to experience the show for the first time, so there will be no disclosure of song titles, of conversation topics, of jokes told, of dreams discussed. Big Red And The Boys is an event, a happening, one best experienced and enjoyed, preferably annually. Like the gang that I know who attends Times Square Angel every year or the couple with whom I have attended the annual trip to Holidelic, Big Red And The Boys has instantaneously become the new holiday tradition for my own family. Henceforth, all may find us at the Happiest Holiday Party in town.

As we were departing, my spouse said to me "There is so much love and so much sense of community in this room that it feels like a circuit party without the hangover."

Even if Big Red And The Boys came with a hangover, it's worth the risk.

Find Meghan Murphy online at her Website

Find Big Red and The Boys at their Website

Follow Patrick Adams on Instagram @paatrric

Follow John Francisco on Instagram @misterjohnsmusic

Find TJ Chernick online at his Website

Find Nick Davio online at his Website

Find Grace Garland online at her Website

Check out the 54 Below calendar at their Website

BWW Review: Meghan Murphy Sets 54 Below On Fire with BIG RED AND THE BOYS GET YOUR HOLIDAY ON!BWW Review: Meghan Murphy Sets 54 Below On Fire with BIG RED AND THE BOYS GET YOUR HOLIDAY ON!BWW Review: Meghan Murphy Sets 54 Below On Fire with BIG RED AND THE BOYS GET YOUR HOLIDAY ON!BWW Review: Meghan Murphy Sets 54 Below On Fire with BIG RED AND THE BOYS GET YOUR HOLIDAY ON!John Francisco

BWW Review: Meghan Murphy Sets 54 Below On Fire with BIG RED AND THE BOYS GET YOUR HOLIDAY ON!BWW Review: Meghan Murphy Sets 54 Below On Fire with BIG RED AND THE BOYS GET YOUR HOLIDAY ON!Grace Garland

BWW Review: Meghan Murphy Sets 54 Below On Fire with BIG RED AND THE BOYS GET YOUR HOLIDAY ON!BWW Review: Meghan Murphy Sets 54 Below On Fire with BIG RED AND THE BOYS GET YOUR HOLIDAY ON!BWW Review: Meghan Murphy Sets 54 Below On Fire with BIG RED AND THE BOYS GET YOUR HOLIDAY ON!BWW Review: Meghan Murphy Sets 54 Below On Fire with BIG RED AND THE BOYS GET YOUR HOLIDAY ON!BWW Review: Meghan Murphy Sets 54 Below On Fire with BIG RED AND THE BOYS GET YOUR HOLIDAY ON!BWW Review: Meghan Murphy Sets 54 Below On Fire with BIG RED AND THE BOYS GET YOUR HOLIDAY ON!

Patrick Andrews

BWW Review: Meghan Murphy Sets 54 Below On Fire with BIG RED AND THE BOYS GET YOUR HOLIDAY ON!BWW Review: Meghan Murphy Sets 54 Below On Fire with BIG RED AND THE BOYS GET YOUR HOLIDAY ON!TJ Chernick

BWW Review: Meghan Murphy Sets 54 Below On Fire with BIG RED AND THE BOYS GET YOUR HOLIDAY ON!

BWW Review: Meghan Murphy Sets 54 Below On Fire with BIG RED AND THE BOYS GET YOUR HOLIDAY ON!BWW Review: Meghan Murphy Sets 54 Below On Fire with BIG RED AND THE BOYS GET YOUR HOLIDAY ON!BWW Review: Meghan Murphy Sets 54 Below On Fire with BIG RED AND THE BOYS GET YOUR HOLIDAY ON!BWW Review: Meghan Murphy Sets 54 Below On Fire with BIG RED AND THE BOYS GET YOUR HOLIDAY ON!BWW Review: Meghan Murphy Sets 54 Below On Fire with BIG RED AND THE BOYS GET YOUR HOLIDAY ON!BWW Review: Meghan Murphy Sets 54 Below On Fire with BIG RED AND THE BOYS GET YOUR HOLIDAY ON!BWW Review: Meghan Murphy Sets 54 Below On Fire with BIG RED AND THE BOYS GET YOUR HOLIDAY ON!BWW Review: Meghan Murphy Sets 54 Below On Fire with BIG RED AND THE BOYS GET YOUR HOLIDAY ON!

Patrick Andrews, TJ Chernick, John Franscio, Nick Davio

BWW Review: Meghan Murphy Sets 54 Below On Fire with BIG RED AND THE BOYS GET YOUR HOLIDAY ON!BWW Review: Meghan Murphy Sets 54 Below On Fire with BIG RED AND THE BOYS GET YOUR HOLIDAY ON!Nick Davio, TJ Chernick

BWW Review: Meghan Murphy Sets 54 Below On Fire with BIG RED AND THE BOYS GET YOUR HOLIDAY ON!BWW Review: Meghan Murphy Sets 54 Below On Fire with BIG RED AND THE BOYS GET YOUR HOLIDAY ON!Meghan Murphy

Photos by Stephen Mosher


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