Kelli Barrett & Jarrod Spector: Look at It My Way

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Kelli Barrett & Jarrod Spector

Look at It My Way

Feinstein’s/54 Below, NYC, April 15, 2017

Reviewed by Joel Benjamin for Cabaret Scenes

Jarrod Spector & Kelli Barrett
Photo: Bruce Glikas

Two attractive, talented people share their unique love story. What better way to spend an hour? The answer, of course, is watching them sing about it—with a five-piece band and backup singers on the stage of one of New York’s most exciting cabaret venues.

Kelli Barrett and Jarrod Spector, two young, Broadway veterans and the lovebirds in question, opened their hearts and their throats in Look at It My Way, their double-autobiographical act at Feinstein’s/54 Below. Despite the fact that the romantic fadeout of their relationship was obvious from the moment they sprang onto the stage, the different versions of their pathway to marriage made for some funny and touching moments and, of course, cues for a bunch of songs.

“For Once in My Life” (Ron Miller/Orlando Murden) began a lively—perhaps, too lively—opening medley, but the Rodgers and Hart classic “I Could Write a Book” brought the couple back down to the unsteady road to romance. Both had very flawed significant others, and he fell for her way before she reciprocated.

“I’m Falling in Love with Someone” (Victor Herbert/Rida Johnson Young) and “I’ve Just Seen a Face” (Paul McCartney) were his declarations of love, and his incipient feelings: “You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me” (Smokey Robinson) and “One” (Bono).

There was a “friendship medley” which logically began with “Getting to Know You” (Rodgers & Hammerstein), and his decision to come clean: “Tell Her About It” (Billy Joel) leading to “I’ll Take Good Care of You” (Bert Berns/Jerry Ragovoy), a sweet coming to terms with their mutual affection.

They probably should have ended with the combined tenderness of “Look in My Eyes” (Richard Barrett) and “In Your Eyes” (Peter Gabriel), rather than the upbeat “We Can Work It Out” (Lennon/McCartney).

Throughout, Barrett and Spector sang beautifully, interacted delightfully, and made it clear that, despite the artifice of a cabaret act, they are the real thing.

Their backup singers, Rachel Stern and John Edward, not only provided rich harmonies, but played several characters in the Barrett/Spector love marathon.

The band was led by Adam Ben-David whose musicians—Aurelien Budynek (guitar), Mark Verdino (bass), David Mann (sax), Damien Bassman (drums)—provided lots of color and passion.

Joel Benjamin

A native New Yorker, Joel was always fascinated by musical theater. Luckily, he was able to be a part of seven Broadway musicals before the age of 14, quitting to pursue a pre-med degree, which led no where except back to performing in the guise of directing a touring ballet troupe. Always interested in writing, he wrote a short play in high school that was actually performed, leading to a hiatus of nearly 40 years before he returned to writing as a reviewer. Writing for Cabaret Scenes has kept him in touch with world filled with brilliance.