Back Home to Broadway
Starring Laura Hodos
Presented Online by Winter Park Playhouse
Musical Direction by Chris Leavy
Winter Park, FL
The lights have gone down in Winter Park, but they are not extinguished yet. Most of the traffic parks safely at home, cruising the internet and munching on their Door Dash dinners. But in the cozy confines of the Winter Park Playhouse, Chris Leavy warms us up with a medley of show tunes and smiles. Soon our Mistress of Ceremonies Heather Alexander comes out in her strapless black and white gown. She bubbles through the introductory rah-rah and then introduces tonight’s cabaret star: the always ready for a show Laura Hodos. The audience is about 6 people on site, and an unknown number of electronic fans orbit high above the mundane traffic outside. I’m holed up in the Ink19 Anti-Covid Fuehrer Bunker. No live shows for ME tonight. And after last night’s fiasco of failure with a local college stream, tonight’s link clicks right through giving quick and clean sound and video, all annoyance free.
Broadway hits are always a safe bet here, and even obscurities have a friendly audience. Ms. Hodos get the evening rolling with “Gee, But It’s Good to Be Here” from the little known 1957 “Happy Hunting (The Musical)” and “Make Yourself at Home.” Well, I AM at home so that’s easy enough. This hour of standards flies along as we roll though “Bells Are Ringing” and selections from the urbane “Company” to the country stylings of Patsy Cline’s “Walking at Midnight. As the evening wraps up, we cuddle with “I Am Not at All in The Clouds” from “Pajama Game.” Then its off to zip us out with “Zippity Doo Dah” and we wrap with the one thing we all need to do today: “Look for the Silver Lining.” It’s around here somewhere…
So, things may be drifting toward normalcy. WPPH plans to open with a real live show in front of a real live audience in a few months, and these online cabarets have been the highpoint of streaming theater. There were even two cameras on set, so close ups and long shots promise to break the monotony of the static Zoom boxes so many other streamed theaters relay on. Overall, a physically constrained show like this cabaret series exploits single singers because its just a bit tough to get a good sword fight going with a single camera angle. But perhaps that will return soon, and we can get our drinks from a real bar, not just the refrigerator.