Jason Kravits: Off the Top

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Jason Kravits

Off the Top

The Duplex, NYC, October 14, 2017

Reviewed by Chris Struck for Cabaret Scenes

Jason Kravits

Jason Kravits has the uncanny talent for improvising lyrics from almost anything, combined with his ability to connect those words to a specific Broadway writer. The suggestions came from cards filled out by the audience, which turned the evening into a coordinated cabaret spoof, starting the instant he hit the stage with the audience-provided stage name Warren Franklin.

Joined by pianist Phil Orr and drummer Tim Lykins, Kravits started by explaining how he wasn’t going to give us his typical show, but was going to let the audience discover the “real” him. First, he had to tell us his real name was not Warren Franklin, but Franklin Warren, and that his family, from England, was known for breeding rabbits. From there this dynamic parlor trick for thinking Off the Top of his head easily became one of the most hilarious cabaret shows imaginable.

He sang “classic cabaret favorites” such as “Need Pizza,” featuring that line many know, “I know this is not one to eat with a fork/ Like the ones you eat in old New York.” He also pulled out an awesome, “but little-known song about puppy love” à la  Jason Robert Brown called “Humble Bragging Is Still Bragging,” and provided a convincing, emotional Sondheim-like tribute about the complications of love, “I’m at Your Apartment, Where Are You?”

Incredibly, the cards appeared at fortuitous times, such as when talking about a place that he had performed at consistently and loved: ….“Atlantis.” He brought it all together at the end when he finished the discussion of his personal journey about a catcher’s mitt with a song connecting the Cloisters to Yankee Stadium.
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Kravits could almost have his own quirky musical with the material.
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It makes for a great show.

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 StruckChris.com