by: Susan Hasho
The show was titled Our Time: KT Sullivan & Jeff Harnar. The title could be a reference to the timelessness of these two performers’ artistry. The most pressing theme of the show was relationships—relationships between lovers and friends, Sullivan and Harnar’s relationship to the material of Sondheim and even one’s gender’s relationship to a song. Most of all, this evening was a love match between two singers who obviously care about each other and Sondheim’s music. Interestingly enough, the choice of songs was from Sondheim’s earlier shows from 1954-1981.
They opened singing Our Time, soft and slow, “someday just began…” “Me and you babe, me and you…” and then segued into Old Friends (Merrily We Roll Along). Harnar sang his love of New York in What More Do I Need (Saturday Night) and Sullivan, her love with Uptown, Downtown (Marry me a Little) and Who’s That Woman (Follies). Intimations of gender fun began with Jeff Harnar singing such songs as Can That Boy Foxtrot, Send in the Clowns, I’m Not Getting Married Today, and The Ladies Who Lunch. Most revelatory and beautiful was his medley of Loving You (Passion) and Losing My Mind (Follies). His warm, sweet voice gave a tenderness and vulnerability to the material; and he remained honest and personal throughout the evening without cliché or sentimentality.
KT Sullivan created a whole lifetime of emotion with a medley of Beautiful (Sunday in the Park with George) and I Remember (Evening Primrose) and gender fun of her own with Pretty Women and Joanna (Sweeney Todd). She brought fresh nuance to In Buddy’s Eyes; and Being Alive became the testimony of a fully lived life. KT has the distinction of seeming as though it’s all effortless—easy to sing and natural to reveal many facets of herself. It takes great talent and art to be “artless.”
A closing duet of I’m Still Here was great fun. And thank god they’re still at 54 Below—one more time January 14th at 7pm. Don’t miss them, timeless as they are.
The inimitable Jon Weber is on piano and as musical director; and the show is directed by Sondra Lee.
54 Below 254 W. 54th Street (cellar) NYC – Reservations: 646.476.3551 www.54below.com
*Photos: Maryann Lopinto