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Review: Michael Kirk Lane Struts his Stuff in WHATEVER I FEEL at Chelsea Table and Stage

Lane captured the audience with his pizzazz while sharing a heartwarming journey appreciating friendship through song.

By: Jun. 14, 2023
Review: Michael Kirk Lane Struts his Stuff in WHATEVER I FEEL at Chelsea Table and Stage  Image
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Review: Michael Kirk Lane Struts his Stuff in WHATEVER I FEEL at Chelsea Table and Stage  Image

Michael Kirk Lane (pictured to left) is funny, brilliant, and somehow that translates into something like near-superhuman humility, oozing from him throughout his performance at Chelsea Table + Stage on June 10th. As he acted out different stages of grief, bravado, and showmanship, Lane displayed what it takes for every and any performer to achieve what they most desire: all eyes on them. From the opening song, “I’m Not a Loser” (from the Spongebob musical) with lyrics like “I don’t secretly hate myself” and “I’m not a failure” to the final number, “Here’s to Us” (from “Little Me”), he was one moment pleading for the audience to “clap, like for tinkerbell” and the next downing a mixed drink placed eloquently at the edge of a table, as he jaunted off-stage. Lane’s Musical Director, William TN Hall, and back up singers Jon Satrom and Andre Jordan met each of his remarks with equal enthusiasm, with the trio of singers eventually locking together and chiming the Beatles’ “With a Little Help from My Friends,”  Lane pantomiming different emotions on the chorus.

In fact, that was possibly the real message of the show, one that Lane named “Whatever I Feel,” and what he, apparently, felt was to start with a song about loneliness and isolation and transition, boldly, into a plethora of those about sharing life with others, especially friends. Michael offered words of wisdom in between songs, remarking that students from his alma mater were livestreaming in, to watch their professor sing “Halfway Down the Stairs” from the Muppet Show, while aptly standing (in his words, unfortunately not sitting) halfway down the very real stairs of the beautiful Chelsea Table + Stage club. There was always a heartwarming message within almost every song, and in between, as he shared words of wisdom and wiped tears from his eyes after a wonderful performance of one of my favorites (of the evening and of all time) the Stephen Sondheim classic, “Not While I’m Around” from Sweeney Todd.

To say that Lane impressed with that moment would be an understatement, and he, Satrom, and Jordan were often brilliant, as their chemistry sparkled as much as their good humor. Almost any song could deserve to be highlighted, and one of the best examples of Lane’s individual shine was also a great example of his overall message, in the form of “Try Again” by Joe Iconis. Starting off with “Someone else’s success is not your failure, except when it is,” the song morphed into one about never giving up, no matter the obstacle. When the trio of singers, shortly after, sang, “I feel so much spring,” it felt as if that “NoReview: Michael Kirk Lane Struts his Stuff in WHATEVER I FEEL at Chelsea Table and Stage  Imaget Loser” was “Not, Not around.” Of course, the show couldn’t and didn’t start on a triple negative (referred to in the Spongebob song’s false start), but it did include three wonderful singers (pictured together to right), supported by a talented musical director. It’s true that in life’s moments when we look to our friends, it’s easy to sing “I feel so much dawn around me, sun comes up, rotten times have been and gone.”

The MAC Award winner's show was aided by the direction of Jake Bazel and could not have  had a more positive message, as Lane continually preached the importance of holding one’s head up high and soldiering on, through pandemics and on-street performances to paying homage to his mentor and longtime director, Jay Rogers, through a song written by the talented George Winters for the late, great cabaret artist, “I Went To The Cabaret Convention.” And while no one may have asked the fictional singer to sing at that convention, we were all applauding Lane’s magnificent performance. I hope he’s strutting his stuff and yelling, “Let’s go girls” at another performance soon!

Find great shows to see on the Chelsea Table + Stage website HERE.

Visit the Michael Kirk Lane website HERE.

Michael Kirk Lane is a teacher on the topic of cabaret with 92NY.  Visit the 92NY website for more information HERE.



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