NY Cabaret Music Review by Paulanne Simmons
The August 12 Broadway Ballyhoo! may have opened with William Blake’s dazzling rendition of “Stormy Weather,” but the entire evening’s entertainment sailed smoothly through to the last number, Kevin Spirtas singing that tribute to young love, “Every Single Day.”
The Broadway Ballyhoo!, now a monthly event at 54 Below, features Ian Herman at the piano and a cast of award-winning and award-nominated performers, mixed with up-and-coming stars of tomorrow. And, so, on Aug. 12, Blake and Spirtas were joined by two Tony nominees, Gavin Lee (Mary Poppins) and Willy Falk (Miss Saigon), as well as nightclub performer Alex Getlin, and Xan Russel, whom the Siegels (Barbara & Scott) first saw in The Mysteries at The Flea Theater.
Highlights of the evening included Herman and guitarist Sean Harkness performing an original instrumental from their newly released CD, Duet, and Xan Russell, who is a trained opera singer, bringing La Boheme to 54 Below.
Blake, who claimed he had been rejected when he auditioned for the role of Sally Bowles in Cabaret, had many in the audience wishing he’d clinched the part after he finished singing “Maybe this Time.” Oakley Boycott displayed her comic gifts in “What’s Wrong with Me.” While, for the more traditional, Jean Gambatese, proved that Rodger’s and Hammerstein are still quite relevant with “I Have Confidence” and “Mr. Snow.”
The new Ballyhoo! has two acts with an intermission. This makes for a full 90 minutes of entertainment and also means that, for these performers, there is indeed a second act.
The Next Broadway Ballyhoo! will be Sept. 25 at 54 Below, 254 West 54th Street (Cellar), www.54below.com
Broadway Ballyhoo is produced by Scott Siegel.
*Photos: Russ Weatherford