By Joel Benjamin
Larry Kerchner, long well-known and respected by the cognoscenti of the musical theater and cabaret worlds, presented Hidden Treasures III: More Songs of Larry Kerchner at the Triad/Stage 72 (November 30, 2014). The seventeen songs ran the gamut from love ballads to sambas to bossa novas and comedy songs. The lineup of first rate entertainers viscerally demonstrated the respect and love they all feel for him.
The comedy numbers were witty and stylish. “Solid, Jackson!” was an amusing pastiche on Forties swing, sung with perfection by Alexis Cole (who also got control of Kerchner’s “Hot Tambú,” which bore a certain resemblance to “Putting On the Ritz”). Jeff Harnar, donning his Noel Coward persona, sang “My Dinner With Mrs. Farnworth” which was full of naughty double entendres and cute wordplay. “What Would the Bergmans Do?” was about the ubiquitous lyricists Alan & Marilyn; John Bolton skillfully sang all the many, many turn-on-a-dime allusions to these songwriters. Marissa Mulder’s “You’re Getting to Me” was an oddball love song, a list of a lover’s terrible faults that, nevertheless, did not dim her lust! Her girlishly fresh voice gave the song a guileless quality. “A Jewish Christmas” was just right for Mark Nadler’s comic talents. The song is a hilarious lament, a litany tsouris capped with having to admit, “All I get is a bagel mit a shmeer,” while the gentiles get all the goodies! Nadler, in a subdued mood, also sang “It Was Paris,” a lilting paean to the city which holds so many memories for Mr. Kerchner and his wife, Annette.
Kerchner has an affinity for Latin rhythms. “Stay With Me” was a quietly intense, gently swinging bossa nova which Nina Hennessey interpreted with long, flowing lines. Maddie Baillio (2014 Michael Feinstein HS Vocal Competition Winner), recently named the Great American Songbook Youth Ambassador, proved that there is a future for cabaret in her cool, jazzy “Portugal,” full of images of nature.
Jim Brochu’s “A Life Without End” was a poignant creed about living life fully. It had the mood of a Jewish lament. Mr. Brochu clearly brought his own life experience into the song. Stacy Sullivan, tall and statuesque, communicated the desperate sadness of “Now I Wonder Why” while leading man Kevin Earley focused his strong musical theater voice on the gentle love song, “My Deepest Love.”
Knowing just where his bread is buttered, Kerchner wrote “54 Below” a love song to the “in” cabaret room of NYC. Over a gently repetitive bass line, Antoinette Montague sang the lyrics extolling this respected venue.
The great “force of nature,” Natalie Douglas sang “Home” from The Wiz tearing the house down.
The band displayed thorough command of all the musical genres. Sara Caswell’s violin was very much featured. Dan Gross on drums was the rhythmic backbone of the evening while Tom Hubbard, the always employed bassist, gave the music heft and structure. Scott Kuney, the guitarist, had ample opportunities to display his expertise. Hubert “Tex” Arnold led the band on piano.
Mercedes Ellington was the slightly under-prepared emcee.
*Photos: Maryann Lopinto (click photos to enlarge)
Hidden Treasures III: More Songs of Larry Kerchner (Produced by Sandi Durell)
November 30, 2014
The Triad/Stage 72, 158 West 72nd St. New York, NY
More Information: www.LarryKerchner.com
Video: Eric Rudy / Video Edits: Russ Weatherford