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BWW Review: SETH SIKES: RUNNING WILD And Cutting Loose at The Green Room 42

Seth Sikes makes the '20s roar!

BWW Review: SETH SIKES: RUNNING WILD And Cutting Loose at The Green Room 42

Remember those old movies where Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland would miraculously save the day by putting together a show with no money in an old barn that was somehow professional and had Broadway-quality production values? Seth Sikes: RUNNING WILD has much in common with those Babes in Arms type movies. Granted, The Green Room 42 is a good sight better than an old barn, and Sikes clearly spent a lot more money than Mickey and Judy, but the feeling is the same: a heartfelt show with spirit, whose primary purpose is to save the day with pure entertainment. In fact, if Mickey and Judy had gotten married and had a child, Seth Sikes is exactly what that would look like.

RUNNING WILD pays tribute to the Roaring '20s by looking through the lens of the 2020s. The band of seven (yes, seven) sounds like every jazz orchestra that ever graced a low-down speakeasy. The arrangements by Matt Aument are so authentic, you'd swear you were listening to a Victrola except for the absence of pops and scratches. Seth Sikes is a perfect interpreter of this type of material. He looks squeaky clean, describing himself as a former "twink" on his way to being a ''t'was." But for all the goody-two-shoes exterior, there's a devilish glint behind the eyes that hints at something darker. He only lets it out once in a while, but it's exciting when he does. Sikes is known for his shows honoring Judy Garland and Liza Minnelli. He brings much of their full-throated, show-biz savvy to his own performance style.

The show started with a medley of "Happy Days Are Here Again" and "Running Wild." It sums up the two sides of the 1920s in an instant. Highlights of the evening included "Just You, Just Me," "I'm In Love Again, and "Making Whoopee." In "Don't Bring Lulu," which Sikes slyly altered to "Don't Tell Molly" he deftly pointed out that there isn't much difference in the wild parties of the 1920s and the 2020s except the choice of drug. He did a first-rate reading of Fanny Brice's "My Man" and let the band take center stage ripping through the "Tiger Rag." Sikes allowed himself a rare pensive moment with "He Was Too Good to Me." It was a beautiful and unadorned performance.

There were many more lovely surprises, including a finale of "Toot, Toot, Tootsie, Goodbye" in which he paid tribute to Jolson without going overboard with the style. It was a joyous evening that was well-researched, charmingly executed, and honored a long-ago era in a loving and unironic way. Seth Sikes set himself a very delicate balancing act and then completely pulled it off. He is an old-school entertainer who gives his audience a lot of bang for their buck. Matt Aument should also be mentioned for his great arrangements and wonderful musical direction. And the band: Alphonso Horne, Michael Breaux, Vince Giordano, Justin Rothberg Mike Lunoe, and Rachel Handman were as much of a success as Sikes himself. Mickey and Judy would be proud.

Seth Sikes will appear on Fire Island this month at the SAGE Pines Pride Celebration on June 5 and the Fire Island Pines Arts Project Benefit Concert on June 26. To learn more about Seth Sikes, look him up @sethsikes on Instagram and Twitter. For more great shows at The Green Room 42, visit greenfignyc.com


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