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Archikulture Digest

Broadway My Way

Broadway My Way

Winter Park Playhouse

This is great! You get to see all the good stuff from the climax of “Phantom of the Opera,” and didn’t have to sit through the boring parts. Shawn Kilgore has a long history art the WP Playhouse; he’s done drag in “Nunsense” and played more than a few romantic leads on this stage. Tonight, he’s back with anecdotes about his career and snippets of all your favored B’way hits from the golden era of Rogers and Hammerstein. True, he starts with some Sondheim, but that’s just to clear the guns. Soon Kilgore settles into the show tunes you want to sing along with but just don’t have the pipes to do so I public. We get: “Oh, what a beautiful morning!” and “Put on a Happy Face” and “Lullaby of Old Broadway.”

Then Kilgore gets personal: his goal in life is to play Tevia in “Fiddler on the Roof.” He sounds Ashkenazi enough, but he needs more white hair to pull off this pinnacle of Yiddish tsores. Anther prize role he seeks is leading “Man of La Mancha”. He does a quickie audition, and I would certainly hire him for the role based on his rendition of “Dulcinai.” He has other desires and plans, certainly, but out time runs short. Ms. Cordone appears for the big blow out material from “Phantom.” On This Enchanted Evening, after we’ve Climbed Every Mountain he produces another special, Aviva Ezery, to close us out with “Why Won’t My Dream Come True?” I can’t help her on that issue, but it’s a powerful little cabaret packed with all our favorites.

winterparkplayhouse.org

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Archikulture Digest

My Broadway: The Roles I Could Play

My Broadway: The Roles I Could Play

Winter Park Playhouse

Mr. Ross may be cute and personable, confident and tall, but he reports some flaws: he’s too young to sing “If I Were a Rich Man”, too old to tackle “Sixteen Going on Seventeen” and too white to pull off “Old Man River”. But that doesn’t make them bad songs, just ones he makes funny. Mr. Ross only came to this stage recently, and tonight he starts out with a little Sondheim (“Something’s Coming”,) a little Webber (“As If We Never Said Goodbye”) and quick greatest hits medley (“Consider Yourself,” “Never Never Land,” “Street Where You Live”.) We hear the stories of audition hell and getting going in the musical trade. He even fired his mother as his agent at 13 and started getting leading roles. This guys a trouper. There were even props: A small Audrey for “Grow For Me” and a cake for “Sara Lee.” Other highlghts include “Mr Cellophane” from “Chicago” and a few tunes from “Les Mis”. The turnout was surprisingly low; while he may not yet have the name appeal of the regulars on this stage, his act was every bit as fun and entertaining. True, he only has three first names, but don’t hold that against him.

www.winterparkplayhouse.org

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Music Reviews

Twin Brother

Twin Brother

Swallow The Anchor

It’s so much fun to be intense when you’re 20. The world hasn’t beat you down completely, and you still might, just might make the ozone hole go away if you can sing sincerely enough. Not that Twin Brother is about ozone or anything political, they just sound like they should be. The core of the band is vocalist/guitarist Sean Raasch and drummer Tyler Nelson: Raasch has a dramatic and intimidating vocal style that makes the real topic of the band’s music soul. Like all that is good in indie pop rock folk alt bands, love is the real question at hand, and love has not been kind to this man. The playlist rolls by, each tune more depressing than the last, and it’s a good example of blues for Midwestern white people. While the vocals are sad, the backing swells, and there’s a symphonic aura in “Fire Fire Fire” that recalls early Moody Blues. “Way To Be” almost sounds hopeful, Mr. Raasch is hoping to just have a chance to bleed into her shoes. It’s a creepy way to be romantic, but memorable. The title track “Swallow the Anchor” vaporizes that cheerful thought; here he bemoans and contemplates shadows and secret affairs. Is someone not sleeping where they shouldn’t, or is it all a paranoid conspiracy? “Heart and Soul” provides little in the way of an answer, the depression and heartbreak continue and if you ignore the lyrics, this is a relaxing collection of tracks. Technically superior, emotionally wrenching, “Swallow The Anchor” is a platter of broken dreams and lost promise. I need to go cry for a while…

Twin Brother: twinbrothermke.bandcamp.com

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Music Reviews

Ryan Webster

Ryan Webster

The Point of Pointlessness

Catbeach

For just one brief moment, I thought “John Barleycorn Must Die” had come back to life, but that was my mistake: this new singer-songwriter has his feet planted firmly in the 21st century even if his chord structures harken back to a more psychedelic era. On “All Who Wander” there’s a comforting pedal steel in the background while up front in a spot light of pain Ryan Webster howls against the agony of present loss and future decline. His arrangements are rich and fulfilling, his vocals interesting without getting weird and his lyrics are, well, lyrics. I’m not engaged by his stories, but rather by is flow of syllables and words. On “Baby Come Back” we hear “You talk about the Holy Ghost, how he speaks to you at home – Baby come back.” Is she crazy, or just a little too far to the right on the Atheist / Bible Thumper Spectrum to recover a faded relation? These are exotic questions that take the loss of heart break and heartbreak of loss to new levels of philosophic debate. But hey, what’s the title of this collection again? Ah, I see. Ryan Webster is a bold new voice with an intriguing sound and a non-traditional approach to composition and songwriting. I’d love to stumble into one of his shows, not knowing what to expect.

Ryan Webster: www.ryanwebstermusic.com

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Music Reviews

Colin Hay

Colin Hay

Topanga

Lazy Eye Records America / Compass Records

Former Men At Work frontman Colin Hay relocated to California from “Down Under,” but he retains the solid earnestness from his days as an MTV wunderkind. Today his music revolves around love and renewal and the joys and despairs of living in LA. His friendly voice rides smoothly over the simple yet effective backing band, sometimes sounding like a grownup rocker, other times like the boyish pop star we remember. Backing him up are the best of the West Coast studio musicians — a few get a brief “Thank You” on the album cover, but Mr. Hay is a solo artist who’s done with internal band disputes.

Mr. Hay has a wonderful voice, and it complements his generally positive and romantic lyrics. Warm guitar chords fill the gaps in his lyrics, giving the songs a feel of a duet even though there isn’t anyone else audible. This disc was first released in 1994, and like all good re-releases, they dug an extra track out of the vault; the slow, Celtic-influenced “Spenser the Rover.” It’s a nice wrapup to an album of more energetic songs, leaving you comfortably warm, like a nicely chilled glass of a decent Napa chardonnay.

Compass: www.compassrecords.com

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Music Reviews

Colin Hay

Colin Hay

Transcendental Highway

Lazy Eye America/Compass

Compass Records is currently rereleasing some of former Men At Work front man Colin Hays’s acoustic albums from a decade ago, and on Transcendental Highway, he showcases his compelling vocals and heartfelt songwriting skills. This disc of sardonic love songs indicates while he may be a true romantic at heart, he knows there are things that can go wrong, sometimes irreparably. The title cut suggests “You don’t have to follow the white lines,” which is OK in a metaphysical sense, but in real life means you’re driving while texting. Heart-tugging yet smooth arrangements fill “Goodbye My Red Rose,” and an up-tempo smooth jazz line infuses “If I Go.” The lyrics in “If I Go” start out as a very promising semifriendly break-up song, although they stumble a bit near the end with a trite “deeper than the sea and taller than a mountain” lyric. It’s not enough to spoil the record, but it is weak. There’s more nicely melancholic musing here, and I might suggest this as a breaking-up gift, if you feel that would help your case.

Compass Records: www.compassrecords.com