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Singnasium: An Old-Fashioned Barn Raising

| May 30, 2017

Singnasium:
An Old-Fashioned Barn Raising

Laurie Beechman Theatre, NYC, May 16, 2017

Reviewed by Rob Lester for Cabaret Scenes

Bodies shape up at gymnasiums, singing gets in shape at Singnasium, the so-named teaching facility (coming this autumn). Good thing they hadn’t yet moved into their own building to perform this first event, because the talents involved would’ve blown its roof off. The “Old-Fashioned Barn Raising” was a long evening long on talent, hosted by its driving force (of nature), Lennie Watts, who also performed (dynamically), as did other staff already planning the enterprise—Kim Grogg, Lynly Forrest, John Koprowski—and teachers. Most have past Watts associations like Steven Ray Watkins (MD for the night), co-teacher/go-to musical director for Watts-directed acts. Others were such singing clients, and/or serve(d) with President Watts on MAC’s Board. Cabaret Scenes’ editor-in-chief Frank Dain (warmly rendering “A Certain Smile”) does both, plus judging Mama’s Next BIG Act! summertime singing contest which Watts created/hosts.

Amy Wolk’s brilliant self-designed rave about bad grammar in song lyrics was gooder than ever [sic], delivering roars of cheers and laughter. Those Girls, the female quartet, amply demonstrated their MAC Award-winning gorgeous harmonies.

Two beloved all-around entertainers with the same initials drew special applause and appreciation: Sally Mayes was all magnetic star stylings revisiting her Closer Than Ever showstopper “Miss Byrd”; Sidney Myer hauled out a “retired” specialty number by special request. Tanya Holt, a rare cabaret sight nowadays, brought pathos and dignity to “Mr. Bojangles.” Julie Gold shone with her signature “From a Distance,” still sounding fresh up close. Also bringing entertainment/charm: Jim Speake, Amorika Amoroso, Melissa Robinette, Lynda Rodolowitz, Meg Flather, and—effective speaking and singing—Phyllis Pastore. Drummer Don Kelly and bassist Matt Scharfglass were the solid musicians with Watkins. The topper ending a tip-top night: Kristine Zbornik’s outrageous spunk and sass. Raffle prizes, booze, jokes, a Grammy winner—try finding those in gymnasiums!! See www.singnasium.info

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

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