Written, Filmed & Edited by Michael Stever
Having spent the evening with Joshua Warr last week over margaritas and mexican food in our beloved Hell’s Kitchen, it came as no surprise that his artistic ventures were going to be gritty, to say the least.
Warr’s latest effort, cleverly titled ‘Love & Warr’ is the newest in a series of personalized musical introspections which look deeper into the world of a man Warr himself says is, “still nervous about love.” What’s more, he’s got some interesting ‘authority figure issues’ which have further inspired his muse. The bumpy rides on the relationship wagon are the focus here, however, and what makes his show fascinating is how he doesn’t merely bemoan the many pitfalls that lay in wait for gay men in the relationship arena. Instead he goes deeper, and darker.
“Let’s face it,” recalls Warr “my show isn’t about falling in love and getting engaged, I have the opposite view for this show of mine. It’s the anti-love, love story.”
While he may still be nervous about love, Warr’s fashion sense is both striking and daring as he slithered into 54 Below’s speak-easy showroom crooning ‘Down With Love’ dressed in a Gothic black, vintage floor-length trench coat that soon gets whipped off to reveal a genuinely classy 3 piece suit ensemble. The opening medley finishes with a pulse-pounding rendition of ‘My Strongest Suit.’
“I don’t like being told what to say, or how to think” Warr exclaims emphatically on stage, and he means it. Standout moments include a bombastically in-your-face series of thoughts and musical musings which run the gamut from taking advice from the parents, (Mamma Said) being careful what you wish for, (Don’t Wish Too Hard) contending with the pitfalls of a bad breakup, (You Broke My Heart) and of course… keeping the eternal flame of self preservation alive Piaf style, (Je, Ne Regrette Rien) Warr’s drag alter-ego ‘Stormy Weatherz’ even gets into the act with a well timed duet utilizing projection technology.
The best moment of the night comes when Warr and his supremely talented back up singers belt out one of the most velvety renditions of ‘Is You Is, Or Is You Aint’ I’ve ever heard. The place literally went nuts.
The rest of Warr’s incredibly talented on stage team includes musical director Jason Wynn on piano, back up singers Samantha Northart and Rob Langeder, Gerard Spalding on drums, Jeffrey Wyatt on guitar, Jake Silver on bass, and Jess Hryniewicki on acoustic guitar.
What makes ‘Love & Warr’ so enjoyable, is the perfect balance he and director Miles Phillips strike between love and hate, anger and blind-euphoria, innocence and coarseness… and all the myriad of heady experiences therein.
Given Warr’s candid demeanor, bitingly funny wit and solid vocal chops it’s easy to report that this show was better than gritty. It was a downright explosive musical foray into a savory mouthful of jalapeno flavored pop-rocks, coupled with a top-shelf margarita chaser!