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BWW Review: NATALIE JOY JOHNSON Is Comedic Gold at The Green Room 42

Natalie Joy Johnson makes a Triumphantly Bawdy Return

BWW Review: NATALIE JOY JOHNSON Is Comedic Gold at The Green Room 42

There are a hundred people tonight in New York City who can't breathe. It has nothing to do with Covid. That's how many people were at The Green Room 42, and they can't breathe because they are still laughing at Natalie Joy Johnson's show. There are some people who just tell hysterically funny stories. That is Natalie Joy Johnson (Kinky Boots, Legally Blonde, Bare.) Her musical journey examining how she survived the pandemic with a cocktail of actual cocktails, internet cam porn, and novelty sex toys had everyone in stitches from her entrance line, " I'm fully vaxxed and ready to F*&*"

The persona she dons onstage is one part Jane Krakowski, one part Lisa Lampanelli, and one part Bette Midler as Sophie Tucker. She is also 100% herself and hilarious. She sings like a diva, but it's really the stories that make this evening a hit. In truth, there weren't that many straight-through songs. She uses music as punctuation to underscore high points in her tales. And they are good tales. In one, she goes on an extended riff about coping with the inability to date during the pandemic by using a site called "Cam Girls." There were four songs inside this comedic sequence, including a ribald take on "A Whole New World" from Aladdin. You'll never think about Princess Jasmine in the same way.

Some of the musical highlights included Hall and Oates' "Your Kiss Is on My List," and "Maneater," Anita Baker's "Sweet Love," Kim Carnes' "Bette Davis Eyes, " and Meat Loaf's "I'd Do Anything For Love." She has the chops to wail on all these power ballads. But she never plays it quite straight. There's always a bit of side-eye that says "I'm having a great time but don't take any of this too seriously." Her act is a joy from start to finish. She got three standing ovations and took not only an encore but two. At the end of the night, she sang Lionel Ritchie's "Lady" with no tricks, absolutely straight. She is a performer of great range.

She is helped along on her journey by a very kick-ass band. Her musical director, Brian Nash, plays half a dozen instruments in addition to the piano and shares Ms. Johnson's off-center sense of humor. They have great chemistry. She is also supported by Phil Coiro on drums and Dylan Shamat on bass. Shamat and Johnson had a funny running gag that involves a little bit of "Reverse Me Too." This is one of the best acts I've seen since the clubs started re-opening.

Be on the lookout for Natalie Joy Johnson's upcoming appearances at nataliejoyjohnson.live, and check out her debut single "Get Into It...Queen!" On Spotify and iTunes. To check out more great acts at The Green Room 42, visit greenfignyc.com.


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