Happy Times – A Tribute to Danny Kaye
Starring Wesley Slade
Musical Direction by Chris Leavy
Spotlight Cabaret Series January 31, 2018
Winter Park Playhouse, Winter Park FL
I’m always impressed by how many dead pop stars have working impersonators floating around Orlando – Groucho, Jackie Gleason, and now Danny Kaye. Mr. K excelled at many things from singing to acting to orchestral conduction and even piloting commercial jet liners. A quadruple treat; he did his best work during and right after WW2. His spirit carries on with Mr. Wesley Slade whom we last saw a year ago at Mad Cow’s “Picasso at the Lapine Agile.” Tonight, he raises the roof with a high energy run down of Kaye’s career from cute Ukrainian kid to Film star to comic. Mr. Slade does wonders with Kays rapid fire patter songs from “Ballin’ The Jack” to “Anatole of Paris “ to Hans Christian Anderson. Slade mixes anecdote, historical context and societal effects, but it doesn’t impede the songs. Puns abound; “Mad Dogs and Englishmen Detesta a Siesta” is a good example on that front. As we wrap up this short program “Anywhere I Wander” set us up for the mandatory encore, that’s a sing along “Minnie the Moocher” with Slade mimes the scats “Hi de hi de hi de hi” through “ Hee de hee de hee de hee” complete with facial sing-along cues. Tonight was high energy and great fun; Mr. Slade is a man who must work the parks as I never see him on the regular circuit of Orlando Theater.