With Kevin Kelly and Kate O’Neil
Musical Direction by Chris Leavy
Winter Park Playhouse, Winter Park, FL
There’s this weird thing I’m noting about the Spotlight Cabaret series – most of the singers have extensive stage experience, proven vocal skills and occasional starring roles at “The Parks”, yet they all express this horrible stage fright at getting up in front of Chris Leavy’s pianos and singing pretty much whatever they want. Still, they all take the trouble to prepare an encore or two but they open with “Oooh – I’m so SCARED to be singing cabaret!” What do they expect from these Winter Park Audiences? Matt Palm in a brown shirt?
Kate O’Neill and Kevin Kelly have been bound at the hips and ankles for the past few years in the semi continuing “Musical of Musicals: The Musical!” and tonight’s they specialize in classic buddy buddy songs – “Side By Side” and “Bosom Buddies” flow with O’Neil in a her little black dress and Kelly in a tuxedo coat and jeans. There’s the usual banter and audience heckling until musical director Leavy complains during “Enough is Enough” he’s run out of eight notes. I was surprised that would happen, it looked like he had a whole case of semidemihemiquavers under the piano bench.
Kelly tried something unusual tonight – he created a drinking game that revolved around mentioning O’Neil’s name. It was a nice idea but it was too hard to keep up with and only a few of the diehard audience members keep up the break neck alcoholic pacing. Another unusual twist came with a country song. While we all expect show tunes, there are some decent country duets and one of them is “Your the reason out kids are ugly.” Truth in lyrics, isn’t that what we all want? So along we went – the singers seemed to overcome any stage fright in about 15 milliseconds, and they had an encore prepared – come on get happy” and “Happy Days are here again”. I tell you, these cabaret singers are all a bunch of sandbaggers – I’ll be they practice in the shower until they are fully prepared. And they don’t have to practice singing, they just work on their “Aw shucks!” chops.
For more information on Winter Park Playhouse, please visit http://www.winterparkplayhouse.org