Kenny Karen

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Kenny Karen

Don’t Tell Mama, NYC, September 12, 2017

Reviewed by Chris Struck for Cabaret Scenes

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Kenny Karen left the recording studio, where he spent over 30 years singing for commercials and other programming, to share a casual set of some of his own material to an appreciative crowd. An experienced songwriter in his own right, he ventured between some older and newer creations to share a tale of challenging oneself and growing up.

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His lyrics were comical and clever from the first song as he crooned, “She was lovely, inviting, she dazzled the crowd with her grace,” followed by the solid punch line, “getting into her mind and her pants.” Called “The Best of Intentions,” it set a positive tone for the night. Karen then sat down at the piano to essentially noodle beneath most of his material, which seemed to get better and better. Some of the highlights were from his more recent work, such as “I, Peter Pan,” which had the great lines, “I, Peter Pan, feel an old man’s frustration” and “Dreams last forever, but not little boys.” One of the most fun numbers of the night was “The Everglades,” which he sang to a track. While he called it a country song, he could also add some steel drums and have a pretty solid Cuban version. All in all, it was a fun performance.

The crowd sang along to an old favorite, “I Used to Be” at the end.
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He added a creative piano to another he used to sing for his kids, “Hero Daddy.”

Chris Struck

Chris Struck's debut novel, Kennig and Gold, is due to be officially published in June 2019. He's written reviews for Cabaret Scenes since August of 2017. For more information about the writer, see