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Review: With Her SHOW OF DARES At Pangea, Becca Kidwell Is Better And Bolder Than Ever Before

No longer a fledgling cabaret artist but always on the lookout for growth, Becca Kidwell puts herself to the test... with a little help from her friends.

Review: With Her SHOW OF DARES At Pangea, Becca Kidwell Is Better And Bolder Than Ever Before

Becca Kidwell was born for cabaret... and, in a way, cabaret was born for her, too. Certainly, Becca Kidwell was put on this planet for more meaningly purposes, like being a wife, a friend, a healer, and, of course, cabaret is an art form created for the benefit of many artists and audience members, but when this accidental performer decided to find out what it was like to be a theatrical storyteller, the cabaret room is where she was destined to find her place. Becca Kidwell could have chosen to be an actress, and she probably would have been great. She could have gone into the storytelling community, she might have tried comedy... had she cared to, Becca Kidwell could have tried her hand at everything from reciting poetry to doing magic tricks to reading out of a volume of Mother Goose, and she would have excelled. That is because Becca Kidwell is a storyteller, in every way that a person can be a storyteller.

Review: With Her SHOW OF DARES At Pangea, Becca Kidwell Is Better And Bolder Than Ever Before

A behind-the-scenes theatrical artisan, Ms. Kidwell found her way into the cabaret rooms of New York City a mere four years ago, catching the attention of the cabaret community and scoring an award nomination for her debut show. Since then, Kidwell has settled in as a club artist, working solo acts and group shows, and picking up a family of friends along the way, many of whom were at her newest show, BECCA KIDWELL'S SHOW OF DARES, last night. As cabaret shows go, the Show of Dares is high concept at its best - it is also gutsy as all hell. Ms. Kidwell, a woman always looking for growth, asked her most respected colleagues to challenge her to sing songs that they felt would take her out of her comfort zone, something that many of the best singers would steer clear of if they could. And with her Musical Director Tracy Stark right beside her, Kidwell went to work on the challenges. When the time came to put the show on its feet, Kidwell and Stark were joined by director Kristine Zbornik, and the three women turned the setlist into a show. It sounds like an easy enough process, and these women are well-matched in their artistic relationship: Stark and Zbornik take proper care of their star and The Show of Dares is a good hour of storytelling.

Review: With Her SHOW OF DARES At Pangea, Becca Kidwell Is Better And Bolder Than Ever Before

It has to be said that Becca Kidwell is doing some really heavy lifting in The Show Of Dares, taking on some pretty respectable songwriters and performers from show business history and from quite close to home. With challenges coming from the likes of Sidney Myer, Nicole Zuraitis, Lennie Watts, and Tanya Moberly, Becca attempted musical theater compositions made famous by Barbara Harris, Jane Connell, and Richard Burton, pop songs by Madonna and Whitney Houston, tour-de-force acting pieces by Meg Flather and Stephen Sondheim, a famous tune from The Animals, and an iconic song from a Sea Witch. With every ounce of determination inside of her, Becca stepped up to the plate and swung, and almost every time, she hit a home run. She took some vocal risks that didn't pay off, but the point is that she accepted each challenge and she did it; fear be damned, the hell with nerves, forget worrying - Becca was equal to the task, each and every time. That is because each and every time, vocal challenges vanquished or not, Becca's storytelling did not suffer: each and every musical number performed was emotionally and intellectually invested in, to exactly the right degree, making The Show of Dares an impressive and enjoyable one to watch. Ms. Kidwell was able to step, sufficiently, out of the shadows of one Barbara and a Barbra with a "Hurry, It's Lovely Up Here" that belonged, solely, to her. She and her artistic team found a way to take a song written for a man and fit it to her storytelling aesthetic with "How To Handle a Woman," and they took an impossible character number and made "Gooch's Song" into one of the evening highlights, and there were several highlights, most of them a big surprise, like the sensationally quiet and tender "I Have Nothing" and the epically frantic "Frying Pan Song," both of which took Becca's vocals to places unexpected.

Review: With Her SHOW OF DARES At Pangea, Becca Kidwell Is Better And Bolder Than Ever Before

You see, Becca Kidwell has some vocal limitations. It's ok that Becca has vocal limitations because the history of cabaret is filled with great artists, great storytellers, who weren't getting up on the stage, having won the genetic lottery with a from-birth perfect voice, or having spent four years of college training for a degree in music performance. Becca's is a pretty voice with some range to it, with a lot of emotion imbued into it, and with growing training. When she sings, you can hear Becca's breath control at work, you can clock her enunciation, you can note her focus on pitch placement - it is obvious she is working with a voice teacher to grow her instrument, and it is paying off: this is the most vocally confident she has been to date. Her confidence as a performer hasn't really been an issue because Becca loves the cabaret rooms and audiences, but her stage presence has also never been this firmly rooted, which is funny when you consider that the nature of this show would have had many artists quaking in their boots. There is nothing wrong with Becca Kidwell's lovely singing that continued study and continued performance opportunities won't improve; what this writer would like to see Becca work on, specifically, is microphone technique. She has some power behind her voice, and there were times last night when the combination of her power and amplification got the better of her and the sound system; yet she mastered the tiny, tender, beating heart moments of "A Quiet Thing" and her two home runs, Rickie Lee Jones' "Company" and Tracy Stark's "Mr. Moon," both of which were, alone, worthy of merit during next year's award season.

Review: With Her SHOW OF DARES At Pangea, Becca Kidwell Is Better And Bolder Than Ever Before

Yes, Becca Kidwell is definitely a storyteller whose place in the performing industry is the small venue rooms of the world because the characters she embodies, the pictures she paints, the journeys she creates are the kind that are best enjoyed in intimate encounters when the artist can reach inside of the hearts of the audience to flick the "on" switch - and that would appear to be Becca Kidwell's specialty.

Becca Kidwell's SHOW OF DARES has concluded a two-performance run at Pangea. Please check out the Pangea website HERE to find other great shows to see.

The Show Of Dares can be seen virtually until July 29th HERE.

Becca Kidwell has a website HERE.

Review: With Her SHOW OF DARES At Pangea, Becca Kidwell Is Better And Bolder Than Ever Before Review: With Her SHOW OF DARES At Pangea, Becca Kidwell Is Better And Bolder Than Ever Before Review: With Her SHOW OF DARES At Pangea, Becca Kidwell Is Better And Bolder Than Ever Before
Review: With Her SHOW OF DARES At Pangea, Becca Kidwell Is Better And Bolder Than Ever Before Review: With Her SHOW OF DARES At Pangea, Becca Kidwell Is Better And Bolder Than Ever Before Review: With Her SHOW OF DARES At Pangea, Becca Kidwell Is Better And Bolder Than Ever Before Review: With Her SHOW OF DARES At Pangea, Becca Kidwell Is Better And Bolder Than Ever Before

Review: With Her SHOW OF DARES At Pangea, Becca Kidwell Is Better And Bolder Than Ever Before

Review: With Her SHOW OF DARES At Pangea, Becca Kidwell Is Better And Bolder Than Ever Before

Photos by Stephen Mosher


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From This Author - Stephen Mosher

Stephen Mosher is the author of The Sweater Book (a collection of his photography featuring celebrated artists from the entertainment communities of New York, Los Angeles, and London), Lived In Crazy... (read more about this author)


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