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Charles Baran: A Recipe for Disaster!

| December 1, 2015

Charles Baran

A Recipe for Disaster!

Metropolitan Room, NYC, November 22, 2015

Reviewed by Joel Benjamin for Cabaret Scenes

Charles-Baran-Cabaret-Scenes-Magazine_212You want to bring Charles Baran home with you—he’s such good company! A Recipe for Disaster! at the Metropolitan Room was a quick look at his very eventful life via songs that ranged from Broadway to Brel.

His Dill Pickle Club Orchestra was led by Musical Director Dan Furman on piano who interpreted Ben Krauss’ fun arrangements of such songs as “You Go to My Head” (Haven Gillespie/J. Fred Coots) combined with “Psychedelic” (St. Vincent) as a statement of brain dysfunction, and Brel’s beseeching “Jef” sung by a dryly frustrated boyfriend.

John Denver’s “Prisoners” was quietly poignant, speaking volumes about the sadness of being trapped in a dead-end life. “On Second Thought” (Leigh/Coleman) was a witty contemplation of getting rid of a lover, then regretting it.  He turned optimistic with a medley of “Shine It On” (Kander & Ebb) & “Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive” (Arlen/Mercer).

“Dreams” (Dolores O’Riordan/Noel Hogan) came after he told of returning to his old Queens neighborhood. The song was his way of expressing his acceptance of change, while “Come Back for More” (Nicholas Levin) emphasized resilience, standing up again after being knocked down.

He spoke movingly and kiddingly about his life and his close family, his coming out, his lovers and friends, including Joan Rivers with whom he had a touching relationship.

He ended with the sweet, cutesy list song “How Much I Love You” (Ogden Nash/Kurt Weill)—a nice way for a nice guy to end his charming act.

Baran’s voice isn’t exactly beautiful, but it’s strong and pliant. You always know what he’s singing about and he’s such a mensch that it’s a joy to hear him.

His little band was completed by three fine musicians who played along—both literally and figuratively—with Baran: Chris Clark on bass; Kristy Norter on reeds; and Danny Taylor on percussion.

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Category: Cabaret Reviews, New York City, New York City Cabaret Reviews

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