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Review: ROE HARTRAMPF Takes His Turn In His Solo Show Debut at 54 Below

Review: ROE HARTRAMPF Takes His Turn In His Solo Show Debut at 54 Below

The male star of Diana The Musical is ready to tell the world who he really is.

Roe Hartrampf is a sweet guy. It shows throughout his nightclub act, which debuted last night at Tony Award-winning hotspot 54 Below. He's also a funny guy, which dominates the show because he spends a lot of the sixty-minute program making fun of himself, and why not? There is a lot to be made fun of. And it's a good thing to be the first person to laugh, to be the person to tell the joke, and with the notorious DIANA THE MUSICAL as his first Broadway show, Mr. Hartrampf is laughing the loudest. But he won't be laughing for long, and neither will the rest of the world: there are new projects and new adventures that await the dashing young actor, and he has what he needs to make them successes, as he builds a career out of the ruins of Diana. After all, he just conquered the nightclub stage, so that's one project and one adventure down.

Review: ROE HARTRAMPF Takes His Turn In His Solo Show Debut at 54 Below

This eponymous club act is Roe Hartrampf's very first solo show ever, and he did a great job. He has another one tonight at 9:30 pm, and hopefully, he will continue to work in the cabaret and concert industry while pursuing his acting career because he's good at it. After his opening number, Roe explains that his goal in creating this act is to let people know who he is because, thus far, all people really know about him is that he played a famous British bad husband in a famous Broadway flop musical with one of the most bizarre trajectories in the history of American Theater, including a NETFLIX film and a Razzie nomination for Worst Performance By An Actor - him. These are all topics that Hartrampf jovially mocks during his program, but his personal lampooning does not stop there, for he also makes fun of other aspects of his career, like ridiculous auditions and bad-boy typecasting, and Roe does it all with a twinkle in his eyes and his tongue planted, firmly, in his cheek. When it comes to letting the public know who you are as an artist, a little self-deprecating humor goes a long way, and when an actor has talent and looks to balance it out, the rate of return can be great. It is even better when a little sincerity is added, especially when there is so much talk of failure, otherwise, an air of bitterness descends over the proceedings.

No such vibe enters the room during Roe's show.

Review: ROE HARTRAMPF Takes His Turn In His Solo Show Debut at 54 Below

While sharing himself with his audience through his wonderfully sung program and a rather extensively written book, Roe Hartrampf does, indeed, discuss a lot of his career setbacks, and even though it is done with levity, everyone has experience of those people who use laughter as a kind of bravado to mask their bitterness. Hartrampf took a chance when crafting the book for his musical cabaret, and one of the things he chose, wisely, to do is sprinkle in glimpses of humility throughout, with genuinely felt discussion about parental support and the depth of commitment he has always had for his art form. These moments occur every now and then for the first half of the program, and right after the one-two punch of big numbers about always playing douchebags and losing the Razzie, just when the threat of smarminess is poised to enter the room, all of the pretense drops, and Roe Hartrampf shows his true self in a small monologue about his gratitude for Diana The Musical, about personal problems he faced during the creation of the play, and about the questions he faces regarding who he is and how he will present that person to the world. It is a most touching and real moment, the kind that audiences in intimate cabaret rooms crave, and the moment that let last night's audience know more about Roe Hartrampf than, perhaps, he imagined it would. Of course, the gorgeous performance of a Sondheim lullaby from Into The Woods that followed didn't hurt.

Review: ROE HARTRAMPF Takes His Turn In His Solo Show Debut at 54 Below

Late in the evening, Roe Hartrampf openly confessed that he had been scared about this night for three months. There was no reason for him to be scared, and there should be no reason for fear, moving forward. He did it. He did his first night of his first-ever solo show. And he has everything he needs to have a successful career in cabaret and concert, including the Three H's of cabaret: heart, humor, and humanity. He also has something that he doesn't need - a crutch, by way of an ever-present choir-bound script upon which he leaned far too heavily. It's ok. This was his first time out, and this reviewer who has openly dragged artists for reading their material is willing to give Roe a free pass on this one because he and the rest of his act are good, solidly so. But moving forward, Hartrampf needs to commit his script and his lyrics to memory because he is a wonderful (italicize it: wonderful) storyteller, with both his musical and spoken material. There is an effortless flow to his storytelling, an investment in making the journey fun, a conscientious structure to the (nicely written) script that sets up the reveals, and a determination to paint for the audience pictures in their minds. The music stand and choir binder put a barricade between Roe and the crowd, and, in order for his success as a storyteller to flourish, that wall must be torn down: the only way to do it is to take that music stand and choir binder off of the stage. The reward for both Roe and the people in the seats out front will be considerable.

Review: ROE HARTRAMPF Takes His Turn In His Solo Show Debut at 54 Below

It's a scary and exciting thing, doing your first-ever club act, and Roe Hartrampf is a performer well-suited to the art form. Diana The Musical may have had its downs but one of the ups is the spotlight it has placed on the cast members and the fans that those actors have gained through the existence of the play. Had it not been for Diana The Musical, it might have been years before Roe Hartrampf felt like he had a story or the right to be doing a solo show. But he does. He has both. He is a welcome initiate to the industry and it's going to be a pleasure to watch his journey.

The Roe Hartrampf band is Jacob Yates Musical Directing at the piano and on cello, Will Shishmanian on guitar, Winston Roye on bass, and Morgan Parker on drums.

Roe Hartrampf will play 54 Below tonight, August 10th, at 9:30 pm. His guest artist roster is different from that of his opening night. For information and reservations visit the 54 Below website HERE.

THIS is the Roe Hartrampf Instagram page.

Review: ROE HARTRAMPF Takes His Turn In His Solo Show Debut at 54 Below Review: ROE HARTRAMPF Takes His Turn In His Solo Show Debut at 54 Below

Review: ROE HARTRAMPF Takes His Turn In His Solo Show Debut at 54 Below Review: ROE HARTRAMPF Takes His Turn In His Solo Show Debut at 54 Below

Review: ROE HARTRAMPF Takes His Turn In His Solo Show Debut at 54 Below Review: ROE HARTRAMPF Takes His Turn In His Solo Show Debut at 54 Below Review: ROE HARTRAMPF Takes His Turn In His Solo Show Debut at 54 Below Review: ROE HARTRAMPF Takes His Turn In His Solo Show Debut at 54 Below

Review: ROE HARTRAMPF Takes His Turn In His Solo Show Debut at 54 Below
With Erin Davie (L) and Jeanna de Waal (R)

Review: ROE HARTRAMPF Takes His Turn In His Solo Show Debut at 54 Below

Review: ROE HARTRAMPF Takes His Turn In His Solo Show Debut at 54 Below Review: ROE HARTRAMPF Takes His Turn In His Solo Show Debut at 54 Below Review: ROE HARTRAMPF Takes His Turn In His Solo Show Debut at 54 Below Review: ROE HARTRAMPF Takes His Turn In His Solo Show Debut at 54 Below Review: ROE HARTRAMPF Takes His Turn In His Solo Show Debut at 54 Below Review: ROE HARTRAMPF Takes His Turn In His Solo Show Debut at 54 Below Review: ROE HARTRAMPF Takes His Turn In His Solo Show Debut at 54 Below

Review: ROE HARTRAMPF Takes His Turn In His Solo Show Debut at 54 Below Review: ROE HARTRAMPF Takes His Turn In His Solo Show Debut at 54 Below Photos by Stephen Mosher

Visit the Stephen Mosher website HERE.


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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 Cra... (read more about this author)


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