Shawn Moninger: Because I Can

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Shawn Moninger

Because I Can

Metropolitan Room, NYC, June 27, 2016

Reviewed by Peter Haas for Cabaret Scenes

Moninger-Shawn-Cabaret-Scenes-Magazine_212After two decades as an award-winning technical director at Eighty-Eight’s, Don’t Tell Mama and Freddy’s  Supper Club, Shawn Moninger has taken to the cabaret stage in his own show. It’s titled Because I Can—and, indeed he can, headlining a hugely entertaining hour-plus show of music and comedy for a summertime full-house crowd at the Metropolitan Room.

The evening’s opening act was a show in itself: a performance by the ever-dynamic Lina Koutrakos, accompanied by Rick Jensen, and performing such numbers as “Ode to Billie Joe,” “Watch What Happens” and “My Favorite Year.” Her rendition of Cole Porter’s “What Is This Thing Called Love?” was a gentle, mournful yet  powerful “holler.” “I don’t do calm,” Koutrakos commented, and proceeded to grab our hearts.
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Next to center stage: Moninger, in his clerical garb. (For the past dozen years, he has served as minister of Unity Center of Norwalk.
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) Fast-paced and often foul-mouthed, he kept the room happily riveted for a full hour with anecdotes and one-liners.  Why a new career in comedy? As he commented, “Because I can; I didn’t know I couldn’t!”

Shifting from the gags, Moninger transitioned into a musical mood, with David Friedman taking over the piano. Following his own composition, the child-like “Cookie Song,” Moninger shifted to two lovely songs written by Friedman (who has been his life partner for the past 14 years): “I Finally Let Go” and Freidman’s classic “We Live on Borrowed Time,” with the audience concluding the show with a warm standing ovation.

Shawn Moninger will return with Because I Can—his final show of this season—at the Metropolitan Room on Thursday, July 28, at 7 PM, with David Friedman and singer Krissy Ross as guests.  He’s planning a new edition for the fall.

Peter Haas

Writer, editor, lyricist and banjo plunker, Peter Haas has been contributing features and performance reviews for Cabaret Scenes since the magazine’s infancy. As a young folk-singer, he co-starred on Channel 13’s first children’s series, Once Upon a Day; wrote scripts, lyrics and performed on Pickwick Records’ children’s albums, and co-starred on the folk album, All Day Singing. In a corporate career, Peter managed editorial functions for CBS Records and McGraw-Hill, and today writes for a stable of business magazines. An ASCAP Award-winning lyricist, his work has been performed at Carnegie Hall, Feinstein’s, Metropolitan Room and other fine saloons.