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Review: With TOGETHER INSIDE at Don't Tell Mama Becca Kidwell Graduates

Becca Kidwell has had a meteoric rise in cabaret and her new show takes her storytelling to a new level.

Review: With TOGETHER INSIDE at Don't Tell Mama Becca Kidwell Graduates

The great American actor Austin Pendleton once described genius as something unique that made someone stand out, something that nobody else had. I know because he said it to me in an interview for Broadway World Cabaret, and he said it about his two co-stars for the play Oh, Dad, Poor Dad..., Jo Van Fleet and Barbara Harris. Austin was careful to qualify that he wasn't talking about the ladies being geniuses in the way that people talk about IQ's or science - he was talking about two women who were creative geniuses the likes of which the entertainment industry didn't see come along every day.

Well, Becca Kidwell is on her way to being hailed as a creative genius in the art of cabaret.

Review: With TOGETHER INSIDE at Don't Tell Mama Becca Kidwell Graduates Becca Kidwell's history in cabaret is well-known by this point: a reiki healer who tried her hand at cabaret, became an award nominee right out of the gate, who was taken right into the community by artists with more tenure and a desire to mentor the newcomer to the fold. Throughout the pandemic, the industry freshman nurtured her relationships, her public visibility, and online shows for both herself and friends like Sally Darling, and then she emerged from the quarantine with one new show after another. Becca Kidwell seems content to spend as much time in her day and her life creating cabaret as she possibly can and, with each new outing, her strength as a storyteller grows as strong and as prominent as her place in the industry. With her new show TOGETHER INSIDE, though, Becca Kidwell has graduated. No longer an intern in the industry who is enjoying some rapid on-the-job training, Becca Kidwell is, now, a professional cabaret performer.

Review: With TOGETHER INSIDE at Don't Tell Mama Becca Kidwell Graduates Together Inside is Ms. Kidwell's examination of her quarantine experience. A self-admitted introvert, she explains in her masterfully crafted script, Becca confesses to her audience the shocking secret she has been carrying around: she enjoyed being in quarantine. (Spoiler alert: there are many who did.) For some reason, being in quarantine brought Becca closer to her friends and her art than she had been, pre-pandemic, and she brings her audience into her story with greater artistic focus and more economic success than she ever has before. There is a gloss on Together Inside that is brand-new to Becca, a professionalism to her performance that elevates her artistry to a new level. There are only three reasons why this change in Becca's brand should be so prominent at this time: Becca herself, director Jeff Harnar, and Musical Director Matt Baker. This is, in no way, meant to diminish the work that Kidwell did with the creative teams from her previous acts - Kidwell is well-known for her collaborations, for her work with the creatives with which she chooses to surround herself, and for her loyalty to them. It speaks volumes about her and those creatives that there is no tension present when she should make the choice to up her artistic ante by exploring new relationships and the growth they can yield. It is clear that Becca's teachers and mentors have each nurtured her for that very moment when they can turn her care over to the next team that will take her to the next level.

Misters Baker and Harnar have taken Becca Kidwell to the next level.

Review: With TOGETHER INSIDE at Don't Tell Mama Becca Kidwell Graduates Together Inside is fifty-five minutes of enchantment, of humanity, of humor and honesty, and of great storytelling. Kidwell's script is perfect, in every way, and Mr. Harnar has guided her into the performing of that script in manners that appear organic to who she is as a woman and who she is discovering she is as an artist, but also in manners that give her audience a slick, professional cabaret experience. Of particular weight throughout the program is the comedy team Kidwell presents. There are those who say things funny and those who say funny things: Becca Kidwell is so droll that it's actually hard to tell which one she is. Either her punchlines have been practiced to the point of perfection, or Kidwell is so naturally comical that she may not even be aware of precisely how funny she is, but her audience on Saturday was howling along with her. Let there be no mistake: they weren't giggling, they weren't chuckling, they weren't laughing - they were howling, so funny were Becca's comedic moments. And then, BAM!, they were sighing because of performances like an "I Get Along Without You Very Well" so in the pocket as to rise to the level of being this reporter's evening highlight. At least, it was one of the highlights, because Matt Baker's arrangements are pushing Becca Kidwell in directions heretofore unexplored and unexpected. A novice vocalist four years ago, Kidwell is singing jazz treatments by Matt Baker and she is nailing it. She is, in fact, nailing all her vocals.

Review: With TOGETHER INSIDE at Don't Tell Mama Becca Kidwell Graduates In my review of Becca Kidwell's Show Of Dares, I stated that Ms. Kidwell has vocal limitations. I take it back. I'm taking it back, and I'm taking it back to the store to return it. Whatever voice lessons Kidwell has been taking, they are paying off, and continuing those lessons will only serve her for the better. For the duration of her program on Saturday, Becca landed on every single pitch, and her breath control has grown, exponentially, over time. She performed songs that some established singers would be reluctant to tackle. I mean, really, who has the guts to sing "In The Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening"? It's a lyric nightmare second only to "The Saga of Jenny." Becca Kidwell? Piece of cake. So confident is Ms. Kidwell that she has taken on famous works like "You've Got a Friend" and completely turned her back on the proclivity that some singers have of singing the song exactly the way that King (or James Taylor) sing it on the record, finding nuances (both acting and vocal) that are all her own. In fact, in a blazing display of individuality, Kidwell is performing songs by close friends and mentors Meg Flather and Tracy Stark and, like the Carole King song, she is performing them HER way. She has felt no pressure to mimic, in any way, the recordings set before her by her woman friends, preferring, instead, to honor their creation by taking them on a tour through their own house, showing it to them through her eyes. Becca The Fearless is all about individuality.

Review: With TOGETHER INSIDE at Don't Tell Mama Becca Kidwell Graduates

The history of cabaret is rich with artists so individual that they had no choice but to become stars - the one that readily comes to mind is Tammy Grimes, who had a persona and a vocal quality that still mesmerizes people today. Becca Kidwell has just such a quality, with a unique voice that sometimes quivers as she almost whispers the notes, and that, other times, blares with such power that she has to stand a foot back from the microphone. Mic technique? Yes, please, and thank you. Performing everything from Lieber & Stoller to Lennon/McCartney, from pop music to musical theater, Kidwell triumphs in the presentation of The Musical Monologue, layering in dialogue and acting moments that enrich every number, particularly in stories about online profiles and being a grown up that deliver both pathos and laughter, while delivering unto a doting audience the real Becca Kidwell, fledgling cabaret performer no more. This is a dream team here, the Kidwell-Harnar-Baker alliance and it is paying off, in real-time, before the very eyes of the industry and the audiences. Together Inside is an auspicious debut for the trio, and it's a perfect way to introduce to everyone Becca Kidwell, cabaret artist of the Graduating Class of 2022.

Becca Kidwell TOGETHER INSIDE will play Don't Tell Mama on May 22nd at 4 pm. For information and reservations visit the Don't Tell Mama website HERE.

Becca Kidwell has a website HERE.

Jeff Harnar has a website HERE.

Matt Baker has a website HERE.

Review: With TOGETHER INSIDE at Don't Tell Mama Becca Kidwell Graduates

Review: With TOGETHER INSIDE at Don't Tell Mama Becca Kidwell Graduates Review: With TOGETHER INSIDE at Don't Tell Mama Becca Kidwell Graduates

Review: With TOGETHER INSIDE at Don't Tell Mama Becca Kidwell Graduates Review: With TOGETHER INSIDE at Don't Tell Mama Becca Kidwell Graduates Review: With TOGETHER INSIDE at Don't Tell Mama Becca Kidwell Graduates

Review: With TOGETHER INSIDE at Don't Tell Mama Becca Kidwell Graduates

Review: With TOGETHER INSIDE at Don't Tell Mama Becca Kidwell Graduates

Review: With TOGETHER INSIDE at Don't Tell Mama Becca Kidwell Graduates

Review: With TOGETHER INSIDE at Don't Tell Mama Becca Kidwell Graduates

Review: With TOGETHER INSIDE at Don't Tell Mama Becca Kidwell Graduates

Review: With TOGETHER INSIDE at Don't Tell Mama Becca Kidwell Graduates

Review: With TOGETHER INSIDE at Don't Tell Mama Becca Kidwell Graduates Review: With TOGETHER INSIDE at Don't Tell Mama Becca Kidwell Graduates

Photos by Stephen Mosher


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From This Author - Stephen Mosher