Two cutie-pie Broadway babies—boyfriends!—reveal all, and then some, at 54 Below.
By Joel Benjamin
Pleasantness prevailed at 54 Below during Broadway Boyfriends, Josh Canfield and Reed Kelly’s light-hearted, but heartfelt romp through their lives. Old and new songs were repurposed as they breathlessly related their first meeting, their professional credits (including their stint on TV’s “Survivor”) and, in a surprising and moving turn, their future together.
They began with the old Fred Astaire/Bing Crosby song “A Couple of Song and Dance Men” (I. Berlin). Josh is definitely the singer, but whether Reed is a good dancer or not remains to be seen since he did no dancing. His singing, however, was ardent, if a tad imprecise, starting with a medley of songs from two musicals he appeared in, Wicked and Spiderman. Josh matched him with his own medley from Hair, Godspell and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat establishing their Broadway bona fides.
Three wonderful guest artists helped fill in a few dramatic gaps. Krysta Rodriguez joined with Reed to prove she was “Crazier Than You” (Andrew Lippa) while Lauren Zakrin harmonized with Josh in “The Moon” & “Letters” from The Great Comet of 1812 (David Malloy) as two romantic characters from that Tolstoy-based hit. Finally, Elizabeth Judd ingeniously brought the two “shy” guys together in “It’s Been a Long Day” (Loesser), a delightfully sung and acted gay spin on this sly match-making ditty.
They explored aspects of their personal life: everyday problems, romantic love and, of course, sex. Josh used one of his own compositions, “Life With You” to examine exactly how terribly different life without Reed would be. From the William Finn/James Lapine groundbreaker Falsettos, Reed used every expressive color of his voice in the tender love song “What More Can I Say.” Irving Berlin’s “Anything You Can Do” wasn’t quite as funny as they thought it was, most of the jokes falling flat.
Josh has been cast in the new musical Doctor Zhivago (Michael Weller, Lucy Simon, Michael Kove and Amy Powers) and sang bits of several songs which ranged from Russian tinged tunes to marches with no “Lara’s Theme” in sight.
“It Had to Be You” (Isham Jones/Gus Kahn) sung—and danced—by the two guys seemed like a perfect ending to a sweet show, but Josh had something else up his sleeve: a proposal of marriage! Did Reed accept? What do you think?
Jonathan Ivie was the very individual music director/pianist who led T-Bone Motta (drums), LaVando Thomas (guitar) and Mark Dover (clarinet).
254 West 54th St. (between Broadway & Eighth Ave.)
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