Kritzerland: Goes Off Broadway

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Goes Off Broadway

Sterling’s Upstairs at the Federal, North Hollywood, CA, July 6, 2014

Reviewed by Les Traub for Cabaret Scenes

Kritzerland500Bruce Kimmel usually includes a couple of talented younger performers in his Kritzerland shows. This time he filled the cast with them to great effect.

They joined veterans Kim Huber, Robert Yacko (pictured) and special guests Jason Graae and Rita McKenzie.

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Songs from Ruthless! bookended the show with exuberant Brennley Brown opening with “Born to Entertain,” complete with tap break, and McKenzie closing with the crowd-pleasing “I Hate Musicals.”

Madison Claire Parks, she of the gorgeous soprano voice, shaded the optimism of “Look for a Sky of Blue” (Little Mary Sunshine) with just the right amount of tongue in cheek. Kim Huber, who recently appeared in Floyd Collins, movingly sang that show’s “Through the Mountain.

Kimmel consistently digs up rare gems and this show had its share, including “She Dies”/ “Time and Time Again” from the short-lived musical Time and Again, which Robert Yacko aced. Jenna Lea Rosen nailed “Raining in My Heart” (Dames at Sea) and Sami Staitman was delightful on “Nothing Short of Wonderful” (Dogfight).

Jason Graae, as usual, moves an audience from laughter to tears.

This time the tears were shed during his heartfelt delivery of “What More Can I Say?” (Falsettoland).

Musical Director John Boswell handled the wide range of material expertly.