Beyond the Binary: Holiday Edition: The 12 Gays of Christmas

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Beyond the Binary

Holiday Edition: The 12 Gays of Christmas

The Duplex, NYC, December 13, 2017

Reviewed by Chris Struck for Cabaret Scenes

Sarah Burke

Sarah Burke (pictured) started a monthly variety show called Beyond the Binary to give gay performers a chance to share a story and a song. While there may have been only ten performers this time and 14 songs, it’s a showcase with a positive message which featured some talented performers.

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Burke had a sultry voice that paired well with girlfriend Hayley Ardizzoni on “All I Want for Christmas Is You” (Mariah Carey/Walter Afanasieff). Their chemistry was a highlight of the night as Burke played along on a ukulele and Lillian Manke looked on from the piano in rapture.

The talented Manke, who hit the keys at the piano and shouldered a guitar for a few numbers, may have sat out that song, but she was the linchpin for the night’s performances. While she didn’t put together any solos, her work helped to accentuate the different performers’ strengths. She balanced well with two of my favorite voices from the showcase, Platon Vavylis and Anthony Razzano, who did “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” (Kim Gannon/Walter Kent/Buck Ram) and “Please Come Home for Christmas” (Charles Brown/Gene Redd), respectively. Vavylis had an easy fluidity that translated easily into his music, and Razzano projected powerfully and evenly through his number to give it a thoroughly practiced vibe. Manke’s work accentuated their strengths.

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Xavier McKnight and Zachary Swartout also put together a saucy “Santa Daddy” (parody of “Santa Baby”) that was pretty funny.

It’ll be interesting to see what Burke and company bring to the next edition of Beyond the Binary.

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