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BWW Review: The LIVE FROM SKYLIGHT RUN Concert Series Presents Valued Artists In The Right Light


The Carole Demas/Stuart J. Allyn helmed series checks all the digital entertainment boxes.

BWW Review: The LIVE FROM SKYLIGHT RUN Concert Series Presents Valued Artists In The Right Light

For months Broadway World Cabaret has been sharing news about the shows coming out of the LIVE FROM SKYLIGHT RUN series created by husband and wife team Carole Demas and Stuart J. Allyn. The seemingly tireless twosome conceived the monthly concerts at the height of the pandemic and show business shutdown, joining with the streaming VR platform Musae to present cabaret concerts that broadcast into fans' homes in a variety of styles, all available through Musae. Once Carole had debuted her first performance, though, the work was not complete, because the pair determined to create a new show for every broadcast - not just a new show for Demas, but presentations involving some of their gifted friends from their life in show business. Months later, Allyn and Demas are just days away from airing their newest act, a reunion between Carole and her MAGIC GARDEN co-star Paula Janis, and this writer thought it was time to drop in on Skylight Run and see how things are going. After an inquiry about seeing some of their past broadcasts, I received an email from LIVE FROM SKYLIGHT RUN producer Allyn with links to three of their past performances, offering me a selection of shows that I could watch for review, but there was no question of selecting one of the concerts to screen: I took out the first day of my three-day weekend and watched all of them!

What the Allyns have created with their digital concert series is a most charming and delightful online entertainment strategically located in a venue full of warmth and ambiance, naturally enough, because Skylight Run is actually the Allyn residence. Carole and Stuart have a comfortable home outside of Manhattan where they used to entertain friends in person, and where, now, they entertain fans everywhere, courtesy of the internet. With cameras stationed around the room where their piano lives, Carole (or whichever artist is appearing for the series) gives a living room concert, and who doesn't love a living room concert? Each of the three show videos I watched this morning was full of casual (and expert) storytelling, both musical and verbal, from actors savvy enough to address the camera during their performance as though looking into the eyes of individuals sitting at tables before them. No shy unease or timidity pervades the air - this is a team of craftspeople who could tell their tales after stepping out of any random chimney down which they had been dropped. Comfortably relaxing at home with a pot of tea and enjoying the various aspects of the storytelling, one is quite apt to notice a smile of benevolent friendship on their face and in the heart, from opening cords to final thank-yous, so welcoming is the Skylight Run experience, whether the performer is a guest artist or Skylight Run matriarch, Demas.

The publicity out of the Live From Skylight Run offices always respectfully announces Ms. Demas as a legend, a word that can confuse some members of the public because of an overabundant usage of the word in today's society, one where television talent show judges tell contestants whose names are unknown to the public that they are "stars" when, in truth, they are just talented performers trying to learn their way into their craft and earn their way into the industry. Carole Demas may not be a show business legend in the way that, say, Liza Minnelli or Leslie Uggams is, but the truth is that Ms. Demas is, in fact, an important part of the theatrical legend, just like her frequent Skylight Run co-star Sarah Rice. As the first actresses to play, respectively, Sandy in GREASE and Joanna in SWEENEY TODD, their place in the history of American theater is important, they are valuable threads in the tapestry that is Broadway, and having an opportunity to see them work, whether live or online, is one that audiences should grab, any chance they get. However, more important than being a part of show business folklore, Misses Demas and Rice (and fellow SKYLIGHT RUN regular, wonderful Carter Calvert) are working actresses with a bounty of talent and storytelling gifts, talent that deserves to be put to work and gifts worthy of being seen. Unfortunately, the business of show is a punishing one for women who, too easily, become invisible to an industry that forgets the contributions they have made and the value of what they have left to offer.

Thank GOODNESS for the cabaret and concert industry for providing opportunities for stars like this (yes, these are stars) and for the audiences who will continue to obtain nourishment at their feet, sitting and allowing their storytelling to wash over them in gratified bliss. More to the point, thank goodness for LIVE FROM SKYLIGHT RUN for broadening the scope of their availability, broadcasting their beauty and talent to audience members far and wide, audiences any and everywhere that a computer hook up is possible. The chance to spend an hour listening to Carole Demas sing everything from folk/pop music to show tunes while telling wonderful stories about stuffed animals and auditions, the opportunity to watch Sarah Rice play the theremin while her best pal jokes about her neighbors' reaction to the sounds emanating from her apartment, the fortuity of having Patsy Cline come to life in the person of Carter Calvert - these aren't moments to take for granted. These are occasions to treasure, to enjoy, to remember as times when you got to see that these actresses, these women, are much more than just that one character with which you have always associated them. They are artists and people, with lives and stories that, daily, grow like a flourishing flower in a magic garden - a garden that is always alive and beautiful, and available for your personal indulgence in a wonderful place called Skylight Run.

June 4th Carole Demas and Paula Janis perform on LIVE FROM SKYLIGHT RUN - for information and tickets click HERE

Visit the Carole Demas website HERE

Visit the Musae website HERE

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