NY Cabaret Music Review by Sandi Durell
(click on photos to enlarge)
One would think that performing eight shows a week on Broadway would be enough to engender some well-deserved R & R when given the chance. But when you’re young, eager, talented and have something more to say, that’s surely not the case . . . why wouldn’t you? Andrew Kober, currently appearing in “Les Miserables,” isn’t one to waste a minute because this charming funny guy (with a BFA in acting from Carnegie Mellon) is brimming with passion, humor, happens to be a great storyteller and possesses a killer voice.
In approximately 80 minutes at 54 Below, I felt as if I knew many of Andrew’s secrets from being an overweight kid in high school, singing in school musical productions (he showed the video clips), loving G & S and the Yankees, to hearing about his Mom and Dad, his TV episode spots (yes, a line here and there but well delivered), to eventually meeting the love of his life, Farra – moving in, marrying and getting Murray (their dog). When he tried to become gay at earlier stages of life (it kinda went with his love for musicals), it didn’t work because he was really straight and found out that it’s OK to like musicals and not be gay. He wound up losing a lot of friends who felt betrayed . . . “it’s difficult to be straight in the theater community.”
Andrew enlightened through his song choices, opening with “Dream Come True” – funky – (Drew Gasparini), and a rockin’ “Don’t Stop Me Now” (Freddie Mercury).
What could become a complete show in and of itself is Marc Broussard’s “French Café” (not for the under 13 year olds), a story of Andrew and female friend visiting a brothel and much more in their Paris travels –a rotating mattress – hmmmm! (check out the drawing).
From the reminiscences of a community theater medley to the excitement of meeting Farra in ’09 – “You Fckn Did It” (Jason Mraz), and the comfort of Sunday mornings at home – “The Perfect Space” (The Avett Brothers), Andrew never backed away from being . . . Andrew, proving that “you can have the personal and professional thing.”
After delivering all his lines (few though they may be) in his current multi-roles in “Les Miserables” (very comical), his guests and “over-qualified backups” Nikki M. James, Keala Settle, Caissie Levy, Samantha Hill proceeded to help him out in a hilarious “I Feel Pretty” (Bernstein/Sondheim).
Encore “For All We Know” (Coots/Lewis) poignantly closed the show to hoots, cheers and standing ovations.
Kober was vocally backed on many of the songs by the uber-talented Matt Hinkley on guitar (also responsible for arrangements) and his band: Brian Usifer on piano, Steve Gilewski on bass and Jay Mack on drums. I’m certain we’ll be hearing much more from Andrew Kober!