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Review: Kate Baldwin & Aaron Lazar Bring Everything From Silliness to Sighs to ALL FOR YOU at 54 Below

Review: Kate Baldwin & Aaron Lazar Bring Everything From Silliness to Sighs to ALL FOR YOU at 54 Below

Old friends and new nightclub partners Lazar and Baldwin have made the right choice to join forces.

The history of show business is rich with the stories of actors who met one day and decided to join forces as a duo show. Often is the time when a couple of girlfriends started a Sister Act or a couple of spiritual brothers decided to share their spotlight with one another; there have even been times when platonic friends of opposite sexes thought their combined efforts might make for a good club act, most notably the comedy team of Nichols and May. The duo act is not unique in the annals of show business.

But it isn't every day when the two actors making up the new boy-girl act in town are among the greatest romantic leads in musical theater history.

Review: Kate Baldwin & Aaron Lazar Bring Everything From Silliness to Sighs to ALL FOR YOU at 54 Below Kate Baldwin and Aaron Lazar explain, in their new show ALL FOR YOU, that they have been friends for decades, meeting about once every ten years to do a play together. This pair of friends who pass each other in their mutual circles of society have had a healthy friendship, a strong respect for one another, and they have each been flourishing in their mutual careers, all this time. It wasn't until 2022 when the two chums-in-passing were cast opposite one another in the musical theater romance THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY at the Axelrod Performing Arts Center that they (and the fortunate people who saw the play) realized the full force of their onstage chemistry, and Aaron and Kate decided it was a springboard to something bigger, and with a potentially longer life. And, like many great couples acts before this one, a new force in live entertainment was born.

Let it not go unsaid that Ms. Baldwin and Mr. Lazar have played many a different type of role during their tenure as actors, that they haven't all been the epic, lush, dramatic, romantic leads; let it be understood that these are two versatile actors, capable of just about anything they might deem worthy of their efforts, (and, please, to the universe and all the powers that be, may there be a production of Sweeney Todd in their near future). But when you take two people who are this gorgeous and they have the singing voices that Kate and Aaron have, you kind of have to lean into the whole lush, romantic thing. It's already in the room. Fortunately, Lazar and Baldwin know that it's in the room, and they know that you have to ride the train that's taking you, and, accordingly, they have mapped out their program of musical selections to reflect that.

Review: Kate Baldwin & Aaron Lazar Bring Everything From Silliness to Sighs to ALL FOR YOU at 54 Below For seventy minutes last night, Kate Baldwin and Aaron Lazar gave the lucky patrons of 54 Below a show that converged at the intersection where "Greatest Hits" and "Musical Theater 101" meet, with each of the two actors taking solo turns on numbers from plays that they have already done, spotlighting roles they long for, and having fun with duets that serve as a dream of possibilities. Performing songs from Finian's Rainbow and Light in the Piazza, the two stars represented their Broadway careers (and it certainly was a thrill to hear them sing these songs in person, once more), and audience members were made blissful by songs from Camelot and Carousel, but there was a healthy portion of their program dedicated to Mr. Sondheim, rendering resplendent visions of a Kate Baldwin as Phyllis Rogers Stone and of an Aaron Lazar-created Georges Seurat. These two numbers, alone, made the show worth seeing, but the truth is that, musically speaking, a night in a club with Baldwin and Lazar should be on everyone's to-do list, especially when the setlist is as BRIDGES-heavy as this one.

Review: Kate Baldwin & Aaron Lazar Bring Everything From Silliness to Sighs to ALL FOR YOU at 54 Below One of the most beautiful and romantic scores ever written for the musical theater, The Bridges of Madison County (whether presented as a production or selections) relies on the relationship between the two actors playing Francesca and Robert. One has only to witness the space in which Baldwin and Lazar live while recreating the numbers from the show that has forever linked them to get a glimpse into what the Axelrod audiences were privileged to see during the run of the play. Opening and closing All For You with numbers from the Jason Robert Brown musical, Aaron and Kate are magnificently in the moment, sounding spectacular, and acting up a storm. It's enough to make a person kick themself for not making the trip out to Jersey to see the limited run while it was playing, and it's a fine example of how a play can really get into an actor's muscles. The experience of playing these characters shows in every nuanced emotion and perfectly sung note that the duo shares, and, indeed, the woman who shared a table with this writer was heard to say, after All For You was concluded: "When they sang those songs from The Bridges of Madison County, I was transported into that movie." Not every tourist got to see the all-too-brief run of the Broadway production, so their frame of reference is bound to be limited to either the novel or the film: to have two actors in a nightclub setting leave such a lasting impression on a 54 Below audience member speaks volumes about the quality of the storytelling. This is quality storytelling.

Review: Kate Baldwin & Aaron Lazar Bring Everything From Silliness to Sighs to ALL FOR YOU at 54 Below Baldwin and Lazar are super cute (and charmingly silly) during the spoken portions of the evening - friends making fun and laughing at each other one moment and holding hands affectionately during their duets, and it gives the crowd a chance to see who they are as people, as a man, as a woman, as colleagues, as mates. It goes a long way toward endearing them, further, to the people in the seats out front. Since there was an element of rambling to their chatter, Aaron and Kate might consider meeting with a concert director to help shape some structure into their show because All For You has Concert Hall written all over it: they could, easily, play this program all over the world, so delicious is the music and so delectable is their friendship. In fact, with the show clocking in at seventy minutes, they could play all the cabaret rooms, and then create a second version of the evening, expanding it into two hours so that the twosome could translate it into a Symphony event.

And speaking of Symphonies, it must be mentioned that Maestro Luke Frazier and the eight members of The American Pops Orchestra are breathtaking in their musical support of Kate Baldwin and Aaron Lazar. How they fit this orchestra, a grand piano, and two enormous voices up on the stage of 54 Below is a mystery, but thank goodness they did because the overall effect is stunning. It's stunning but it's not surprising - it's exactly what a person should have expected when an Aaron Lazar/Kate Baldwin show was announced for 54 Below. It was always a foregone conclusion that All For You would be a special night of live entertainment, but the excellence of Kate Baldwin and Aaron Lazar's show really can't be explained, it has to be experienced, in all its magnificent, magical, musical glory.

Kate Baldwin & Aaron Lazar will continue with performances of ALL FOR YOU July 20, 21, and 23, with a live stream of the closing night performance. For information and reservations to the in-person performances visit the 54 Below website HERE.

For information and reservations to the live stream event, visit THIS 54 Below page.

Kate Baldwin's website is HERE and Aaron Lazar's website is HERE.

Review: Kate Baldwin & Aaron Lazar Bring Everything From Silliness to Sighs to ALL FOR YOU at 54 Below

Review: Kate Baldwin & Aaron Lazar Bring Everything From Silliness to Sighs to ALL FOR YOU at 54 Below Review: Kate Baldwin & Aaron Lazar Bring Everything From Silliness to Sighs to ALL FOR YOU at 54 Below Review: Kate Baldwin & Aaron Lazar Bring Everything From Silliness to Sighs to ALL FOR YOU at 54 Below Review: Kate Baldwin & Aaron Lazar Bring Everything From Silliness to Sighs to ALL FOR YOU at 54 Below

Review: Kate Baldwin & Aaron Lazar Bring Everything From Silliness to Sighs to ALL FOR YOU at 54 Below Review: Kate Baldwin & Aaron Lazar Bring Everything From Silliness to Sighs to ALL FOR YOU at 54 Below Review: Kate Baldwin & Aaron Lazar Bring Everything From Silliness to Sighs to ALL FOR YOU at 54 Below Review: Kate Baldwin & Aaron Lazar Bring Everything From Silliness to Sighs to ALL FOR YOU at 54 Below Review: Kate Baldwin & Aaron Lazar Bring Everything From Silliness to Sighs to ALL FOR YOU at 54 Below Review: Kate Baldwin & Aaron Lazar Bring Everything From Silliness to Sighs to ALL FOR YOU at 54 Below

Review: Kate Baldwin & Aaron Lazar Bring Everything From Silliness to Sighs to ALL FOR YOU at 54 Below

Review: Kate Baldwin & Aaron Lazar Bring Everything From Silliness to Sighs to ALL FOR YOU at 54 Below Review: Kate Baldwin & Aaron Lazar Bring Everything From Silliness to Sighs to ALL FOR YOU at 54 Below

Review: Kate Baldwin & Aaron Lazar Bring Everything From Silliness to Sighs to ALL FOR YOU at 54 Below Review: Kate Baldwin & Aaron Lazar Bring Everything From Silliness to Sighs to ALL FOR YOU at 54 Below

Review: Kate Baldwin & Aaron Lazar Bring Everything From Silliness to Sighs to ALL FOR YOU at 54 Below Review: Kate Baldwin & Aaron Lazar Bring Everything From Silliness to Sighs to ALL FOR YOU at 54 Below

Review: Kate Baldwin & Aaron Lazar Bring Everything From Silliness to Sighs to ALL FOR YOU at 54 Below Review: Kate Baldwin & Aaron Lazar Bring Everything From Silliness to Sighs to ALL FOR YOU at 54 Below Review: Kate Baldwin & Aaron Lazar Bring Everything From Silliness to Sighs to ALL FOR YOU at 54 Below Review: Kate Baldwin & Aaron Lazar Bring Everything From Silliness to Sighs to ALL FOR YOU at 54 Below

Review: Kate Baldwin & Aaron Lazar Bring Everything From Silliness to Sighs to ALL FOR YOU at 54 Below Review: Kate Baldwin & Aaron Lazar Bring Everything From Silliness to Sighs to ALL FOR YOU at 54 Below 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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