By Ron Fassler
Having heard of the Skivvies for some time from friends who swear by their talents as musicians, performers, musical arrangers and comedians, the opportunity to see their Presidents Day Show took me to The Green Room 42 Monday night to see what all the madness and fun is about. I can happily report that, though it was a first for me, it will hardly be my last. Yes, I am officially obsessed.
Lauren Molina and Nick Cearley have been performing as the Skivvies since 2012 and they have their act down! As their website states, they perform “stripped down arrangements of eclectic covers and eccentric originals. Not only is the music stripped down—cello, ukulele, glockenspiel, melodia—but the Skivvies literally strip down to their underwear to perform.” Silly? Yes. Tantalizing? Sure. Adorable? Absolutely. Necessary? Yeah, I think so (insert Emoji smile here).
Both Molina and Cearley have substantial theatre credits (she of the recent Desperate Measures and 2005 Broadway revival of Sweeney Todd and the Tony-nominated Best Musical Rock of Ages; he of the 1st National Tour of All Shook Up). They’ve even been cast together on occasion, such as appearing as Janet and Brad in The Rocky Horror Show at Bucks County Playhouse. But there’s no question the Skivvies is where they stand together as one. I loved how in tune they seem and how taken they are with each other. There’s not a moment of upstaging in their banter and performing. It’s a joy to watch them play and sing and share sardonic comments with exquisite comic timing.
The songs they sing are mostly clever mashups. You can never really relax very long when a song starts as it quickly morphs into something that takes you by complete surprise (and usually makes you laugh out loud). Their opening number (their standard) takes off on their being near-naked by beginning with Nelly’s “Hot in Here,” Arrow’s “Hot Hot Hot” and Sondheim’s “It’s Hot Up Here” from Sunday in the Park with George.
They pretty much had me at “hot.”
And speaking of hot, Presidents Day included appearances by such former White House occupants as Abe Lincoln and Rutherford B. Hayes (yes, both hot), Betsy Ross (also hot) and other guests who dropped in throughout the night. It was amusing how everyone came up on stage fully clothed… only to find the need to take off just about everything moments later. In all honesty, it’s such good clean fun. The effrontery of it is never in your face (even though it sort of is), meaning that it’s really all about kicking back and relaxing and not being so hung up about life and its travails—especially in 2020 (the show did have a few political things to say that would make a Republican potentially think twice about attending).
Joining in the fun on Sunday night were Lesli Margherita, Gina Milo, Travis Kent, Ben Bogen, Florrie Bagel, Kuhoo Verma, Timothy Hughes, Logan Hart and Nathan Lee Graham. It was so refreshing to see these performers, of all ages, shapes and sizes, take such pride in baring themselves in every way. Bravo to each and every one of them, as well as to the tight (and barely dressed) band: Debbie Tjong on bass, Eli Zoller on guitar and Josh Roberts on drums. But most especially, hats off (I’m running out of clothing to toss away) to the evening’s hosts and major talents: Nick Cearley and Lauren Molina.
For convivial, charming, easy going entertainment… with some extra added hot sauce, look no further than wherever the Skivvies are playing next. You can check out their website: www.theskivviesnyc.com or follow them on Twitter https://twitter.com/theskivviesnyc and YouTube https://www.youtube.com/user/lomo212
Photos: Ron Fassler
The Skivvies performed Monday February 17th at The Green Room 42, 570 10th Ave, New York, NY 10036