A Review of Eric Michael Gillett’s Man About Town
By John Weatherford
During the Rodney King riots in Los Angeles my production studio was caught right in the middle of it all. During the night the fires burned around us, but by morning most of the destruction was under control. When my production manager called to clear that we would not tape the show that morning I said, “No, the show must go on.”
Many of my cast and crew were unhappy with my decision. They saw no need to enter the “battle zone.” They were told that anyone who feared showing up need not come. We would manage. And, we did.
Eric Michael Gillett suffered a devastating fire in his apartment last week. He lost many tangible reflections of his history – memories. He lost cherished possessions for sure but, to hear him explain it, he lost nothing in his heart. His nephew, staying with him while going to school, escaped – that was all that really mattered. Many might have cancelled their show. But, not Eric Michael; he understood the underlying power of the phrase. He had obligations to his musicians, he had obligations to the theatre and its staff and, most of all, he had obligations to himself. He would not let the fire take away anything else. He would not let fear or depression lock him into a “it doesn’t matter… I’ll do it some other time.” No, the show must go on.
And, on it went. His Man About Town, the music of Noel Coward, was terrific. Mr. Gillett knows his material and, what is more, admires and respects the subject. The songs selected for the show covered an array of moods and the many insights of Mr. Coward. Every number was presented with the style and class that only someone like Eric Michael Gillett can achieve. He is a multifaceted talent and shares those talents with many.
He is a singer, an actor and a director extraordinaire. His ability to communicate his message to whoever his audience might be, is supreme. Congratulations to Mr. Gillett and to his wonderful musicians. Rick Jensen served as pianist as well as musical Director. All those who know Mr. Jensen, and they are legion, are aware of his abilities and conviction. Matt Scharfglass is one of the finest bass players in Manhattan and Jonathan Kantor uses his clarinet to enhance the moods and emotional pictures that Mr. Gillett paints.
Do yourself a massive favor and join this Man About Town for one of his remaining shows. There are shows October 20, 27 and November 3. All performances are at 7pm at The Laurie Beechman Theatre.
Photos/Video: Russ Weatherford