Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Dancing in the Dark

While it might or might not be true that, as F. Scott Fitzgerald once famously declared, "[t]here are no second acts in American lives" (and as someone who has gone through at least two acts so far I’m inclined to doubt it) there’s no question that there are second acts in St. Louis cabaret. In the coming weeks, four of them will be playing out at the Kranzberg Center under the aegis of The Presenters Dolan, and local cabaret fans would be well advised to seek them out.

Before I comment on these performers, though, a bit of full disclosure: I have worked with most of them on stage, either in theatrical productions or cabaret showcases. I have also attended the St. Louis Cabaret Conference with most of them, which tends to be a bonding experience among performers. Given my four decades of experience as a performer and critic, I think my comments on their work are still valid – one learns how to wear multiple hats after a while – but your mileage may vary.

Jeff Wright brings his show The Dance back for what is billed as a final performance on Friday, April 16th. Jeff has classic “leading man” charisma, an equally classic crooner’s voice and substantial musical theatre credentials. He brings all three to bear with great success in an evening of songs by, among others, Howard Dietz and Arthur Schwartz, Sammy Cahn, James Taylor, Jule Styne, Craig Carnelia, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton and Elton John.

I’m not sure that the theme of dancing is actually sustained through the entire evening, but at the end Jeff does finish up with some actual fancy footwork in “Go Into Your Dance” (from 42nd Street), so I won’t quibble. The bottom line is that The Dance is an impressive showcase for Jeff’s vocal and acting chops, both of which are formidable. Neal Richardson, one of our finest music directors (his work on my show, Just a Song at Twilight, was a revelation), is at the keyboard.

Visit licketytix.com for more information.

More to come.

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