Two best friends singing and telling theater war stories.
By Joel Benjamin
Who could ask for better company than Kerry Butler and Seth Rudetsky? Friends from childhood, they took the audience on a merry hike down memory lane on October 15th, stopping at all their career highlights which were many. They bantered about performing in a “young stars” ensemble and told war stories about auditions gone right and auditions gone horribly wrong.
Butler’s numbers, all brilliantly accompanied by the witty Rudetsky—with one exception—came from her Broadway shows and they magically combined to make not just an act, but a showcase for her very bright, special voice which is somehow simultaneously powerful and delicate. This slight, lovely creature can pull out all the stops and shake the rafters!
“Inside Your Heart,” from Bat Boy (Laurence O’Keefe), was a bizarre love song about a girl willing to show her love for her vampire boyfriend by giving him her blood and from Catch Me If You Can, yet another song about a girl helping the object of her affections commit a crime, in the name of love, “Fly, Fly Away” (Shaiman/Wittman).
“Suddenly” (Jeff Lynne/John Ferrar), from the roller-skating fantasy Xanadu was the occasion for stories about multiple injuries, including the leading man’s badly timed broken ankle. From Smile she sang the wistful “Disneyland” (Hamlisch/Ashman).
Butler plucked on a ukulele, accompanying herself on “Song Bird” (Christine McVie), her lovely voice and simple chords—charmingly awkward!—emphasized the unfussy appeal of the lyrics.
Butler is, of course, best known for her Penny Singleton in Hairspray (Shaiman/Wittman) and sang a wonderful medley from that show joined by an exuberant Eric DySart.
The highlights of the show were songs from Little Shop of Horrors (Menken/Ashman). Putting on her best Noo Yawk accent she sang “Some Where That’s Green” with a perfect combination of pathos and camp. With Rudetsky taking on the role of Seymour, the show ended with a full-throttle “Suddenly Seymour.”
Kerry Butler still has one more show on October 21st. Don’t miss it.
Kerry Butler and Seth Rudetsky (remaining show – October 21, 2015)
254 West 54th Street (cellar), between Broadway and 8th Avenue New York, NY
For reservations call 646-476-3551 or visit www.54Below.com