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Ricky Pope News - Page 2

 
BWW Interview: Orfeh & Andy Karl of LEGALLY BOUND at 54 Below Talk about Music, Fashi Photo BWW Interview: Orfeh & Andy Karl of LEGALLY BOUND at 54 Below Talk about Music, Fashion, and Love
by Ricky Pope - Sep 13, 2021

For 20 years, Orfeh and Andy Karl have been making beautiful music together. But no need to take my word for it. You can check it out for yourself this week when they return to Feinstein’s 54 Below with their show LEGALLY BOUND. It is an encore presentation of the show they did in 2017 that’s been rethought for the post-lockdown world. The title is, of course, a play on words referring to Legally Blonde, one of several Broadway shows Andy and Orfeh have co-starred in.

BWW Review: DIANA HUEY: FIND YOUR LIGHT Has Lots and Lots of Heart at The Green Room  Photo BWW Review: DIANA HUEY: FIND YOUR LIGHT Has Lots and Lots of Heart at The Green Room 42
by Ricky Pope - Sep 12, 2021

Diana Huey is a dynamic singer of power tunes: power ballads, power rock, and power pop songs. The surprise though is that she is equally adept at the introspective monologue and the quirky character song. She has a wry sense of humor which is most often aimed at herself. And most importantly, Diana Huey has heart, lots and lots of heart. Most of her stories dealt with finding your own empowerment through kindness to others. She feels this duty especially when it comes to children. She had wonderful stories about the young girls who came to the stage door to meet her when she played Ariel in The Little Mermaid on tour. Her platform as an Asian woman playing a Disney princess has made her a powerful advocate for these young girls. It is a job she takes very seriously.

BWW Review: KIM DAVID SMITH: MOSTLY MARLENE is an Inspired Creation, Indeed, at Club  Photo BWW Review: KIM DAVID SMITH: MOSTLY MARLENE is an Inspired Creation, Indeed, at Club Cumming
by Ricky Pope - Sep 11, 2021

The wonderful, magical part of MOSTLY MARLENE is that Kim David Smith plays none of it for camp. He winks at the audience, to be sure, but the evening is an honest and loving tribute to Marlene, the world she inhabited, and the fans who adored her. He captures her signature style: the languid delivery, the fluid gestures, the almost predatory sexuality, and those breathtaking moments when she became so still and internal it was a little spooky. None of it feels natural, and that’s precisely the point. Marlene Dietrich always let the audience in on the fact that they weren’t watching reality, they were watching an inspired creation. Kim David Smith is inspired, indeed.

BWW Review: SIERRA BOGGESS Makes Joyful Music at 54 Below Photo BWW Review: SIERRA BOGGESS Makes Joyful Music at 54 Below
by Ricky Pope - Sep 10, 2021

The one constant in all Sierra Boggess' roles is a heavenly voice that sounds so effortless it hides the stunning technique that lies beneath. She has a lightness of tone that is completely conversational in every register and diction that is enviable. But beyond all these technical gifts, Boggess is masterful at living inside any given lyric without imposing anything on it. She just lets the words do the work. In that, she is a worthy successor to Barbara Cook.

BWW Review: THE LINEUP WITH SUSIE MOSHER at Birdland Should Be Your Tuesday Night Han Photo BWW Review: THE LINEUP WITH SUSIE MOSHER at Birdland Should Be Your Tuesday Night Hangout
by Ricky Pope - Sep 8, 2021

Birdland, the world-famous jazz club, features two of these latter-day vaudeville offshoots. Jim Caruso's Cast Party has been a staple of Birdland for years, serving as Broadway's open mic experience. But every Tuesday evening, Susie Mosher presides over a somewhat more curated and far more ribald variety show in Birdland's downstairs theatre. THE LINEUP is not an open mic. Mosher puts together its guests each week. They are from every echelon of show business, from Tony winners to new up-and-coming artists. They often have nothing in common except for a wild amount of talent. Susie Mosher serves as the host of the evening. She is a combination of den mother, improv artist, and Tasmanian devil. Her wit is faster than lightning and she can turn on a dime into a fantastic chanteuse. I was lucky enough to catch the latest edition of THE LINEUP this evening.

BWW Review: RACHEL HANDMAN AND KEVE WILSON: BROADWAY MUSICIANS PLAY MUSIC FROM AROUND Photo BWW Review: RACHEL HANDMAN AND KEVE WILSON: BROADWAY MUSICIANS PLAY MUSIC FROM AROUND THE WORLD Enchants at 54 Below
by Ricky Pope - Sep 7, 2021

It’s a very rare thing for 54 Below to present an evening of strictly instrumental music. But violinist Rachel Handman and oboist Keve Wilson are not ordinary musicians. They have been friends since childhood, growing up in the same neighborhood upstate. Handman’s mother was Keve Wilson’s piano teacher. They’ve been together ever since, occasionally even sharing a Broadway pit. At the time of the shutdown, Handman was playing West Side Story and Wilson was playing Company. This is the fourth time they’ve graced the stage of 54 Below. However, this time their band has expanded. Together with guitarist Hidayat Honari, bassist Marc Schmied, and drummer Damien Bassman, Handman and Wilson delighted a rapt audience.

BWW Review: MR. HARRIS AND MR. EDWARDS Are Off to a Promising Start at Don't Tell Mam Photo BWW Review: MR. HARRIS AND MR. EDWARDS Are Off to a Promising Start at Don't Tell Mama
by Ricky Pope - Sep 3, 2021

Tonight, in their debut show at Don’t Tell Mama, Quentin Harris and Bryce Edwards added their own names to the list of performing teams who use opposition to their advantage. They bill themselves simply as MR. HARRIS AND MR. EDWARDS. If this sounds like a throwback to vaudeville days, it’s not entirely an accident. Harris and Edwards owe much to those old-time show business acts and most of their musical material is drawn from the Great American Songbook and from jazz standards. Quentin Harris knows a great deal about jazz and plays piano in the style of Oscar Peterson and many of the other jazz greats. Bryce Harris is a charmingly off-kilter one-man band, who plays ukulele, banjo, and the world’s most cumbersome looking kazoo. His style is bombastic and more than a little Jolson-esque. Both men are young, still in school, in fact, and so their show is a little rough around the edges as they find their footing. But they have the bones of a really interesting and unique act.

Photo Flash:  Helane Blumfield Captures Elizabeth Ward Land STILL WITHIN THE SOUND OF Photo Photo Flash: Helane Blumfield Captures Elizabeth Ward Land STILL WITHIN THE SOUND OF MY VOICE - THE SONGS OF LINDA RONSTADT at The Green Room 42
by Stephen Mosher - Aug 31, 2021

Happily Elizabeth Ward Land isn't quite finished with her Linda Ronstadt show just yet... and the hits just keep on coming.

BWW Review: ADAM GWON Touches the Heart at 54 Below Photo BWW Review: ADAM GWON Touches the Heart at 54 Below
by Ricky Pope - Aug 30, 2021

Adam Gwon has very devoted fans. His songs have been recorded by Audra Macdonald and Liz Callaway, among others, and are frequently heard performed in cabaret shows by hundreds of artists. But for all of the acclaim Gwon has received over the past decade or so, he has yet to write the show that will be his big breakthrough on Broadway. Like early Sondheim, his work is very individual and very unexpected. The era of Adam Gwon is on the way, make no mistake about it. No further proof is required than the showcase of his work that graced the stage of Feinstein’s 54 Below this weekend. Adam Gwon is the voice of his generation.

BWW Review: MICHAEL FEINSTEIN: SUMMERTIME SWING! Is a Lesson in Showmanship at Feinst Photo BWW Review: MICHAEL FEINSTEIN: SUMMERTIME SWING! Is a Lesson in Showmanship at Feinstein's 54 Below
by Ricky Pope - Aug 28, 2021

I’m happy to report that SUMMERTIME SWING! is perfectly on-brand. Mr. Feinstein delivers some finely crafted gems from the Great American Songbook with his trademark energy and showmanship. I have seen Feinstein mostly in larger venues, and so the surprising element in this show was to see how intimately he engaged his audience in the cozier quarters of 54 Below. It was truly like being invited into his home. He had some expert help with the party. Mark McClean on drums and David Finck on bass are fantastic musicians. Tedd Firth on the piano was positively on fire in his creativity. The trio was a jazz lover's dream. It is a delight to hear musicians of this caliber do what they do.

BWW Review: ELIZABETH WARD LAND: STILL WITHIN THE SOUND OF MY VOICE Tells the Story o Photo BWW Review: ELIZABETH WARD LAND: STILL WITHIN THE SOUND OF MY VOICE Tells the Story of Two Artists at The Green Room 42
by Ricky Pope - Aug 26, 2021

In 2020, Elizabeth Ward Land (Amazing Grace, Scandalous, The Scarlet Pimpernel, Memphis, City of Angels) won the Bistro Award for Outstanding Tribute Show for her work on STILL WITHIN THE SOUND OF MY VOICE: THE SONGS OF LINDA RONSTADT. Tonight she gave a repeat performance of that award-winning show at The Green Room 42. She hadn't finished the first number before it became clear why her show won awards. Not only is Elizabeth Ward Land a compelling actress and singer, her show is well structured, well written, well directed, and impeccably performed. She uses the facts of Linda Ronstadt's Life, a young girl who leaves her home and family in Tuscon for an uncertain future in music, to tell the story of Elizabeth Ward Land, a young girl who leaves her home and family in Denver for an uncertain future in theatre. They have much in common.

BWW Review: SALON Throws a Sweet Sixteen Party at Don't Tell Mama Photo BWW Review: SALON Throws a Sweet Sixteen Party at Don't Tell Mama
by Ricky Pope - Aug 23, 2021

Tonight, SALON performed for the first time after sixteen months off. Even the threat of a tropical storm outside didn’t deter a good number of people from celebrating its return. This evening’s theme was threefold: “Welcome Back!,” “Sweet Sixteen” in honor of Salon’s 16th anniversary, and “Bernstein at 103” to celebrates the 103rd birthday of the great Leonard Bernstein. Tonight’s co-host was the much-awarded cabaret artist, Julie Reyburn.

BWW Review: NORBERT LEO BUTZ SINGS TORCH SONGS FOR A PANDEMIC Is a Tonic For the Soul Photo BWW Review: NORBERT LEO BUTZ SINGS TORCH SONGS FOR A PANDEMIC Is a Tonic For the Soul at 54 Below
by Ricky Pope - Aug 22, 2021

Norbert Leo But is an actor who is hard to pin a label on. It’s hard to believe that Jamie Wellerstein, Alfie Doolittle, Paddy Chayefsky, Agent Carl Hanratty, Freddy Benson Edward Bloom, and Fiyero all came out of the same brain space. And yet, that very chameleon-like versatility has been the hallmark of his Broadway career. Tonight, at 54 Below, in his show NORBERT LEO BUTZ SINGS TORCH SONGS FOR A PANDEMIC, he had only one character to play, a charming, if sometimes complicated actor called Norbert. It was the music itself that displayed chameleon-like versatility tonight. It was mostly rock, but it ran the gamut from Bruce Springsteen to Neil Young, Ron Sexsmith, Joni Mitchell, Dolly Parton, Fleetwood Mac, and Neil Diamond.

BWW Review: JARED CHINNOCK & EVAN BUCKLEY HARRIS: OLD SOULS Strikes Just the Right Ch Photo BWW Review: JARED CHINNOCK & EVAN BUCKLEY HARRIS: OLD SOULS Strikes Just the Right Chord at Don't Tell Mama
by Ricky Pope - Aug 19, 2021

Chinnock and Harris are a study in contrasts. Jared Chinnock is a small, wiry, blond, tenor, guitar player with a Welsh accent. His style is percussive and dramatic. Evan Buckley Harris is a tall, dark-haired, baritone pianist. His style is more lyrical and laid-back. But for all their differences, their voices blend beautifully. It was a pleasure to hear them harmonize.  They also clearly enjoy playing together. Their onstage chemistry is very fraternal.

BWW Interview: Michael Feinstein of MICHAEL FEINSTEIN: SUMMERTIME SWING! Talks About  Photo BWW Interview: Michael Feinstein of MICHAEL FEINSTEIN: SUMMERTIME SWING! Talks About The Great American Songbook and His Return to Feinstein's 54 Below
by Ricky Pope - Aug 19, 2021

When it comes to the art of cabaret, no one has been more successful or more prolific than Michael Feinstein. His influence is literally everywhere you look. In three decades he has gone from a piano bar performer to one of the most driving forces in the music business, the impresario of a cabaret empire. He is an ambassador for the Great American Songbook and his work as an archivist of rare and forgotten scores is unparalleled.

BWW Review: BONNIE MILLIGAN Raises the Roof at 54 Below Photo BWW Review: BONNIE MILLIGAN Raises the Roof at 54 Below
by Ricky Pope - Aug 19, 2021

Bonnie Milligan is what Broadway used to sound like: brassy, belted, and funny. Thank God, there are still women around who know how to do it. There is a huge difference between selling a song with some charm in a big voice, and 'screlting' at the top of your lungs. Ethel Merman knew the difference. So does Bonnie Milligan. She made one of the most talked-about Broadway debuts in seasons as the deliciously vain Princess Pamela in Head Over Heels. She confessed that it’s been 3 years since she last did a solo show. Tonight at Feinstein’s 54 Below, she made up for lost time, delivering a stellar, and surprisingly vulnerable self-titled show.

BWW Review: DEREK KLENA Sings Straight From the Heart at Feinstein's 54 Below Photo BWW Review: DEREK KLENA Sings Straight From the Heart at Feinstein's 54 Below
by Ricky Pope - Aug 17, 2021

Onstage, Tony nominee Derek Klena has played a lot of roles that could be best described as 'heels,' well-meaning guys who go horribly wrong due to a lapse in good judgment. It comes as a pleasant surprise to find out that Derek Klena, actor, singer, cabaret performer, is in truth a genuinely affable, kind, thoughtful guy. He is also a prodigiously talented one. In the decade he has been working in New York he has racked up some impressive credits including Carrie, Dogfight, Wicked, The Bridges of Madison County, Anastasia, and Jagged Little Pill. He sang songs from several of those productions in his self-titled show which opened at 54 Below last nigh

BWW Review: ANITA GILLETTE & PENNY FULLER Are A Wonder in SIN TWISTERS at 54 Below Photo BWW Review: ANITA GILLETTE & PENNY FULLER Are A Wonder in SIN TWISTERS at 54 Below
by Ricky Pope - Aug 17, 2021

Penny Fuller may have had the quote of the evening when she and Anita Gillette unveiled the new version of their show SIN TWISTERS. She was quoting the great Barbara Cook, who said 'I wish someone had told me I was working in The Golden Age. I would have paid attention.' That is a mouthful. Anita Gillette (Carnival, All-American, Mr. President, They're Playing Our Song, Chapter Two) and Penny Fuller (Applause, Rex, A New Brain, The Dinner Party, Anastasia) brought a bit of The Golden Age to the stage of Feinstein's 54 Below. And the audience paid attention. In fact, the audience was spellbound.

BWW Review: MICHAEL MOTT & FRIENDS Makes You Want to Get Up On Your Feet at 54 Below Photo BWW Review: MICHAEL MOTT & FRIENDS Makes You Want to Get Up On Your Feet at 54 Below
by Ricky Pope - Aug 16, 2021

Michaeln Mott performs at 54 Below about every six months. Thanks to the pandemic it’s been nearly a year an half since he was last in the august cabaret room. But he was back tonight at last with a new edition of his showcase, MICHAEL MOTT & FRIENDS. And he had lots to show off.

BWW CD Review: TRAVIS MOSER & DREW WUTKE- SO MANY PEOPLE: THE SONDHEIM SESSIONS Succe Photo BWW CD Review: TRAVIS MOSER & DREW WUTKE- SO MANY PEOPLE: THE SONDHEIM SESSIONS Succeeds on Its Own Terms
by Ricky Pope - Aug 15, 2021

Travis Moser, a full-throated musical theatre baritone, sings five songs mostly from the first half of Sondheim's career. He is joined by his longtime musical director Drew Wutke, who has created stripped-down piano-only versions of the songs. Recorded about 6 months into the pandemic, Moser has used his mini song cycle to react to the pandemic from his own point of view using Sondheim's words. The aim was to record the songs just as Sondheim wrote them, without new arrangements and without altering pronouns or genders. It is clear Travis Moser holds Sondheim in great regard and has presented his songs quite faithfully.

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