Review: Jonathan Hoover Exceeds All Expectations With Solo Show Debut SECOND-RATE SOMEBODY at 54 Below

Inappropriate Patti was in the room but this was most definitely Jonathan Hoover's night.

By: Aug. 14, 2023
Review: Jonathan Hoover Exceeds All Expectations With Solo Show Debut SECOND-RATE SOMEBODY at 54 Below
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The crowd cheered lustily and loudly for a long time last night at 54 Below.  They did this at the start of the show, they did it again at the end of the show, and they did it repeatedly and enthusiastically with wild abandon throughout the entire evening.  It was the solo show debut of Jonathan Hoover, and the people were there for it… and each and every cheer, shout, cry, howl, laugh, and ovation was completely and totally well-earned and fully deserved.  The man responsible for the internet juggernaut named Inappropriate Patti was finally standing in the spotlight that has been patiently awaiting his arrival, and it was well worth the wait.

Review: Jonathan Hoover Exceeds All Expectations With Solo Show Debut SECOND-RATE SOMEBODY at 54 Below

SECOND RATE SOMEBODY refers to a Judy Garland quote about being the best version of yourself.  Well, as Jonathan Hoover pointed out last night, being a second-rate version of Patti LuPone has done pretty well by him.  And although his viral videos have brought him cyberlebrity, a splashy television debut, and a special fan who is the recipient of three Tony Awards, Jonathan Hoover has been hiding behind his parody creation, a fact that he addressed in detail during his generous eighty-minute show, and not just detail but a candor that one might find lacking in some club acts by performers with years more experience, an openness that is most welcome in this age of transparency and authenticity.  This was not the cabaret show one might have expected from Inappropriate Patti… but, then, this was not her show, it was Jonathan Hoover’s, and therein lies the success of the program.

Review: Jonathan Hoover Exceeds All Expectations With Solo Show Debut SECOND-RATE SOMEBODY at 54 Below

For his inaugural show, Jonathan Hoover made the wise move of enlisting the guiding talents of Director Robbie Rozelle and Musical Director Drew Wutke, and, together, the three friends and artists crafted a script (and production) that would tell Jonathan’s own story, starting with the creation of Inappropriate Patti (the Christmas day account of the first video is priceless), journeying through the viral nature of Hoover’s tribute to his North Star, The Lady LuPone, and culminating in the creation of a character on a hit television show by one of Jonathan’s gay idols, Ryan Murphy.  The evening kicked off with much Patti, so much Patti that Hoover was justthisclose to having it be TOO much Patti, and that is when he made the bold, the brilliant, the beautiful choice to let his hair down and tell the truth, and the truth is always valuable.  The curtain fell and so did any attempt at being anything other than real.  Mr. Hoover shared everything from his surprise at the success, the addiction to the notifications, the impulse to hide his own light behind the attention to Patti, and many of the ingredients that made him into the person he is today, from the bullying to the queer need for divas to the rescuing that occurred when his parents pulled him from the educational system and into a home school situation, in order to protect his overwhelming creativity from being squelched by schoolyard ruffians.  No mere cabaret show was Second-Rate Somebody, and lest anyone think, for a moment, that this was one of those therapy by cabaret outings, no such thought crossed this writer’s mind, and one might assume that every other person in the room felt the same way, so assertive was the audience response.  Jonathan Hoover had the people in the palm of his hand.  Solo show debut?  Perhaps.  But it didn’t feel that way.  Hoover has an innate ability to connect with his audience, and a natural instinct at how best to enact his script in ways economic yet informative, casual yet theatrical, and impeccably timed for maximum emotional response.  Had one not known that this was his solo show debut, one might suspect he had been working in cabaret and concert for years.  That is the benefit of being willing to go out on a stage and open a vein, which is what Jonathan Hoover did last night.

Review: Jonathan Hoover Exceeds All Expectations With Solo Show Debut SECOND-RATE SOMEBODY at 54 Below

To offset the honesty and authenticity, Mr. Hoover made sure to pepper the performance with just the right doses of Inappropriate Patti and all of the manic energy for which he and the entity are known.  There was outrageousness and there was prop comedy, there were Patti LuPone legends and the songs that accompany them, and there was Jonathan’s own personal reminiscence about working with his idol on American Horror Story, what he learned from her, and how a star really behaves when they are a thoughtful, respectful, professional at work.  And then, when Inappropriate Patti took a back seat for impressively large chunks of the evening, Jonathan gave his audience the gift of seeing what a gorgeously expressive actor he is, what a thoughtful storyteller he is, and what a pretty singing voice he possesses.  While belting it out as Patti, one can easily see that Jonathan Hoover has skills, but given the opportunity to blow notes with his own sound on Stephen Sondheim’s “More” or mix a little pop and jazz together with an ebullient “For Once In My Life,” Mr. Hoover proved, over and over, that his success is not just a Flash In The Patti.  Using a spectacularly astute monologue about queer boys and their attachments to their divas, Jonathan segued into a heartbreaking performance of Kander & Ebb’s “She’s A Woman” that was easily this writer’s favorite moment in the show, and digging down to the deepest reaches of his being, he hit it out of the park with what was a, clearly, personally informed “I Am What I Am” that audience members will certainly never forget.   And that’s before getting into a discussion of the flashier points of the performance, the Inappropriate Patti musical numbers, like a fantasy Madonna musical, or a mash-up involving Norma Demond, one Doctor, and one Mister (it defies description), and for all of the numbers, either those by Jonathan Hoover or those by Inappropriate Patti, Hoover gave more than should be humanly possible.  People sometimes talk about giving one hundred and twenty percent or one thousand percent or anything more than one hundred percent, but that is often little more than flowery language and hyperbole.  But not when Jonathan Hoover is on the stage.  This cabaret show and this performance are a prime example of what it is for a person to give everything they’ve got… and just a little bit more (or a lot).  It seems hard to believe that one person could have this much energy, this much talent, this much intention, and this much to give, but Hoover did it.  He gave it everything he had in a performance of detail and dedication, professionally produced and rehearsed, and well-led by Rozelle and Wutke.  Even in the quietest moments, like an outstanding “Out There” designed to crack the heart, Jonathan Hoover is in it to win it, but the true winners were the people in the seats out front, the people who gave Jonathan Hoover so extended an ovation at the very top of the show that, eventually, standing in the dark, he put his hands over his heart and just waited for the roar of the people to subside so that he could sing the words "Sugar.  Butter.  Flour" to another burst of applause.  It was those same appreciative audience members who, repeatedly, brought the new cabaret star to tears with their admiration.  It was emotional, it was memorable, it was art.  This was no ordinary night of cabaret.  This was special, not unlike Jonathan Hoover himself.

Find great shows to see on the 54 Below website HERE.

Visit the Jonathan Hoover Link.tree page HERE.

The SECOND RATE SOMEBODY band was Shawn Dustin on Drums, Amy Griffiths on Reeds, and Musical Director Drew Wutke at the piano.

Photos by Stephen Mosher

Review: Jonathan Hoover Exceeds All Expectations With Solo Show Debut SECOND-RATE SOMEBODY at 54 Below

Review: Jonathan Hoover Exceeds All Expectations With Solo Show Debut SECOND-RATE SOMEBODY at 54 Below

Review: Jonathan Hoover Exceeds All Expectations With Solo Show Debut SECOND-RATE SOMEBODY at 54 Below

Review: Jonathan Hoover Exceeds All Expectations With Solo Show Debut SECOND-RATE SOMEBODY at 54 Below

Review: Jonathan Hoover Exceeds All Expectations With Solo Show Debut SECOND-RATE SOMEBODY at 54 Below

Review: Jonathan Hoover Exceeds All Expectations With Solo Show Debut SECOND-RATE SOMEBODY at 54 Below

Review: Jonathan Hoover Exceeds All Expectations With Solo Show Debut SECOND-RATE SOMEBODY at 54 Below

Review: Jonathan Hoover Exceeds All Expectations With Solo Show Debut SECOND-RATE SOMEBODY at 54 Below Review: Jonathan Hoover Exceeds All Expectations With Solo Show Debut SECOND-RATE SOMEBODY at 54 Below

Review: Jonathan Hoover Exceeds All Expectations With Solo Show Debut SECOND-RATE SOMEBODY at 54 Below

Review: Jonathan Hoover Exceeds All Expectations With Solo Show Debut SECOND-RATE SOMEBODY at 54 Below

Review: Jonathan Hoover Exceeds All Expectations With Solo Show Debut SECOND-RATE SOMEBODY at 54 Below

Review: Jonathan Hoover Exceeds All Expectations With Solo Show Debut SECOND-RATE SOMEBODY at 54 Below

Review: Jonathan Hoover Exceeds All Expectations With Solo Show Debut SECOND-RATE SOMEBODY at 54 Below


 



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