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Lyric Theatre Cabaret

Rick Rogers Modified: July 16, 2013 at 10:15 am •  Published: July 16, 2013

Lyric Theatre has established its reputation as a first-class presenter of musical theater works. But the company recently set aside an evening to showcase its cast and crew in an intimate cabaret setting at its Plaza Theatre location. The talent ranged from the amateur to the professional, with a parade of soloists, duets and a quartet stepping in the spotlight. Brian Hamilton provided solid musical accompaniments and served as a genial and sometimes catty host. While musical theater performers typically step into familiar roles, a process that can be alternately confining or liberating, this cabaret allowed them to step outside their usual comfort zones and explore musical material that ranged from the humorous and the poignant to the pensive and the somber. Many of the selections poked fun at fellow actors and crew members, with plenty of inside jokes that drew gales of laughter. Lyric’s prop crew tranformed “Wicked’s” ”Popular” into “Propular,” with numerous references to the challenges they face behind the scenes. Stephen Hilton’s inability to interest John Denver and Placido Domingo in collaborating on “Annie’s Song” led him to assume both roles in alternation- imitating Denver’s folksy twang and Domingo’s robust operatic voice. Among the vocal standouts were performances by Jamard Richardson, who dreamed of being noticed by an elusive woman in the charmingly humorous “I Could Be That Guy” from “Sister Act,” and Kristy Cates providing a powerful first-act closer with Stephen Schwartz’s “Meadowlark,” an unqualified masterpiece from the failed musical “The Baker’s Wife.” Ethan Spell offered a different take on Lerner and Loewe’s “I Talk to the Trees,” a lovely ballad from “Paint Your Wagon” to which he lent a contemporary sensibility with a sly but off-kilter sense of humor. Aaron Boudreaux captivated the crowd with his rendition of “Moving Too Fast” from Jason Robert Brown’s “The Last 5 Years,” a powerful number in which the character Jamie wonders if his life is too good to be true. Finally, there was Alex Enterline giving a compelling performance of Jeff Blumenkrantz’s “Why Can’t I Kiss You?,” the tale of a young guy who can’t muster the courage to kiss the object of his affections. Thanks for introducing me to this charming number, Alex. Proceeds from Lyric’s Cabaret will benefit Gatewood Elementary School.


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