Songs in the Key of “Me”

Songs in the Key of “Me”

Songs in the Key of “Me”
With Kevin Kelly
Musical Direction by Chris Leavy
Spotlight Cabaret at Winter Park Playhouse, Winter Park FL

Kevin Kelly might not have the biggest range in town but he’s self effacing and claims to be the “Helen Reddy of Orlando Musical Theatre”. Strong words, but he’s able to back them up: he opens with a Tom Lehrer number “I Hold Your Hand in Mine”. It’s sweet, it’s Victorian, and it’s actually kind of creepy if you listen to the last stanza. Kelly wears a backstage black t-shirt with a spangly “ME” ironed right on the front, this shows his innate frugality as the letters can be peeled off after the show and the shirt repurposed. Smart move in these tight times, and he quickly moves on to the Judy Garland Number “Friendly Star” from Summer Stock, “Corner of the Sky” from “Pippin” and a Maltby and Shire Number “I don’t remember”.

Like a number of cabaret singers I know, Kelly grew up in a strictly religious household. Records had to be vetted by mom for inappropriate lyrics, even Barry Manilow got recused with scotch tape on his overly sensuous tracks. This didn’t stop the musically fanatic Kelly, he carefully PEELED THE TAPE OFF! Take that, Censorious Mom! And we get to hear exactly what mom didn’t approve of, apparently Mr. Manilow was singing about a failing marriage. Mr. Manilow was NOT “Thinking About The Children.”

With a stalwart Chris Leavy backing him, Kelly was confident and at ease, kept the crowd on his side and closed with a “Rent” number. Acting surprised, he got an ovations and sang the slow ballad “On My Way Back to You” to close the show, and then hung out with those of us who didn’t have a bed time looming. Like all the Spotlight Cabarets, this was fun and fluffy and a low brain power way to spend a weekend. But if you’ll pardon me know, I have to go deconstructs an avant garde community theater production of “Hamlet.”

For more information on Winter Park Playhouse, please visit http://www.winterparkplayhouse.org

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