A delightful evening of songs illuminating everyday experiences and oddball moments.



By Joel Benjamin





Eli Bolin’s pleasant, easygoing personality comes through in his songs, most of which take everyday situations and spin them into insightful gems. Manifesting this relaxed attitude, Bolin appeared on stage at 54 Below (May 1st) in a bathrobe, which hid a slightly rumpled suit. He emceed the show with a delightful wit, giving just enough background information for each song.

Bolin Schmolin: The Songs of Eli Bolin featured songs from six musicals Bolin wrote or co-wrote. The opening number, “Never Gonna Get Over You,” from Eddie Scourge’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Christmas Extravaganza written with Mike Pettry (Bolin’s music director for the evening), was a fast-paced rock song about the pain of leaving an affair. Drew Gasparini and Jeremy Morse gave it just the right pop energy. They were joined by Jed Resnick in “Pi Shop,” from Found, which playfully tossed around words like “diameter” and “circumference” as symbols of relationships.

Found is set to words that Bolin seems to have fallen into his hands in various ways such as “Barf Bag Breakup” which is exactly what it sounds like. Jennifer Damiano gave this wistfully sad song its due. Stephanie Abruzzo and Kevin Del Aguila wittily rendered “Denim and Diamonds,” from the same show, based on a real note from a hot-to-trot young lady to a superficial man.

From Volleygirls (lyrics, Sam Forman): “I like Girls,” gleefully sung by Adrienne Warren, is a coming out tale in an uptight era; “You’re Beautiful When You Play,” sung by Jed Resnick, is a lovingly awkward revelation of a crush; and “Animal in Our Midst,” sung by the big-voiced Jennifer C. Johnson, a bitter, gossipy rant.

The oddest, but probably the funniest song, was an ode to a character from old McDonald’s commercials. “Grimace’s Lament” (lyrics by Mr. Forman) from Your Next Broadway Season and sung by Nicholas Barnes, backed up by videos of the purple puppet in action. It turns out this poor, fuzzy, misunderstood, eggplant-shaped shlubby creature has been totally misunderstood! Almost as oddball was “Nothing Like a Kiss” from Skippyjon Jones: Snow What sung by its lyricist, Kevin Del Aguila. The kiss in question was from a Chihuahua! The melody and rhythm were appropriately Mexican. 

Bolin had the last word, so to speak, singing “Something That I Love” from Found, a real-life philosophy of being free to be slovenly, gluttonous and love life. Bolin’s interpretation had just the right sweetness.

The other wonderful, talented cast members were L.R. Davidson, Annemarie Rosano, Jackie Washam and Larry Hamilton. Bolin’s wife, Allison Posner, was probably his keenest interpreter. Her “When I Come Home” caught all the sadness of the breakup of a longtime relationship, complete with hints of infidelity.

His band, led by Mr. Pettry, included Brendan O’Grady on bass, Shannon Ford on drums and Freddy Hall on guitar, all totally in synch with Mr. Bolin’s music.


Bolin Schmolin: The Songs of Eli Bolin – May 1, 2015

54 Below

254 West 54th St., between Broadway and 8th Ave.

New York, NY

Reservations: 646-476-3551 or www.54below.com

More information: www.elibolin.net