Kate Pazakis: The Sexless Years
Perhaps the most shocking thing about Kate Pazakis' one-woman-with-other-people-show called The Sexless Years is, despite the carnality implied to the title, how emotionally honest and ultimately charming it is. Using a combination of jazz and rock standards, showtunes, and original songs, Kate exudes both sexuality and vulnerability as she narrates the story of her own romantic adventures.
When young Kate moves to New York and finds love with "Speven" (names have been changed to protect the innocent, of course), she initially doesn't mind waiting to have sex with him, but begins to realize that their lack of physical intimacy is merely a symptom of a lack of emotional intimacy as well. Her chaste years with "Speven" give us the title of this show, but more than sex, Kate learns that what is lacking in their relationship is honesty. It's a bittersweet story, and one easily recognizable to anyone who has ever wrestled with the painful combination of love and secrecy.
All of the many conflicting emotions of young love are here, demonstrated with songs ranging from a brassy and tough "Blues in the Night" to a joyous "Everlasting Love" to a quirky "Whenever I Dream" (from A New Brain) to a truly haunting combination of a rather specific new song by Maria Gentile, "If I Was A Boy," with the Gretchen Cryer/Nancy Ford "Old Friend." Using the songs as turns in the track of this emotional roller-coaster, Kate Pazakis focuses on the heart of each musical moment, letting us share in both her elation and pain. Noel Carmichael's direction keeps the show even and on track, and works nicely with Brian Nash's musical direction.
While accurately (and sometimes painfully) depicting the awkwardness of new love, The Sexless Years has some awkward moments that could stand some smoothing over. Her backup singers, (Brian Golub, Toby Blackwell, and Ethan Paulini) given a name that can't be printed in a family website, sing very well and help fill out the narrative, but are occasionally distracting when the focus is meant to be on Kate alone. And while Kate sings them all well and consistently, not all of the songs are as effective as they could be. For example, her rendition of "Flying Home" is beautiful, but does not add anything to the emotional arc of the story.
But none of these relatively minor wrinkles detract from the overall fun of the evening. Those (like yours truly) who regularly enjoy Kate Pazakis' sassy and soulful renditions of "Meadowlark" and "Defying Gravity" Friday nights upstairs at the Duplex will certainly enjoy this chance to see her in the spotlight. Her inimitable belting range is put to excellent use here, but she also uses the show to display her strengths as an actress. The Sexless Years is a raunchy, funny, poignant, and surprisingly charming evening that can appeal to a wide audience.
Kate Pazakis: The Sexless Years will be performed on January 17th, 24th, 31st at 9:30 PM.
There is a $10 cover and a 2 drink minimum for all shows.
Call (212) 255-5438 for reservations.