Mykal Kilgore

Mykal Kilgore

The Green Room 42, NYC, March 9, 2018

Reviewed by Randolph B. Eigenbrode for Cabaret Scenes

Mykal Kilgore

Sometimes, out there in the darkness, one can’t help but notice a shining star.

In the case of Mykal Kilgore, all the electricity at ConEdison couldn’t match the ultra-watt comet of talent that emanated from the virtuosic vocalist. And, while he certainly isn’t new to all of this, it’s only a matter of (reclaimed) time before he cements himself as a beacon in the astronomical guide that is show biz.

He took to the stage in an iridescent blue African-style ensemble, eye-popping, yet regal. Onstage he is at complete ease. He is indeed meant to sing, with the melodies flowing from him like an open hydrant in a hot NYC summer. 

Surprisingly, he never works too hard. In fact, with an extensive upper end that goes for miles, he puts the vocal fireworks on reserve, only employing them when musically appropriate. But that didn’t stop the lively audience from chanting, almost begging, for more.

This showing, at first glance, appeared to be more concert than cabaret. Kilgore presented a handful of self-penned songs with those from Broadway and current pop interspersed. His originals have a unique point of view: accessible lyrics on first listen, but resonant with emotional depth.    

Inhabiting “Who Thinks I’m Guilty of a Crime?” as Trayvon Martin’s shooter, George Zimmerman, Kilgore avoided heavy-handed messaging by undercutting the song with a sardonic smile, recalling the best of Bob Fosse. And “Pass Me That Vaporizer” doubled as both unguarded confessional and rousing call to action. This in particular was delivered with a brutal—almost blistering—honesty rarely seen in cabaret rooms.

Wearily Kilgore beseeches, “We’re sick and tired of conversation.”

Twenty minutes into the program and you realize that this is no concert. The economic use of patter puts the focus on Kilgore’s lyrics, ripe with humanity. Combine that with his connection to the audience, gently engaging in an unspoken kinship, and Kilgore transcends into cabaret territory.

And his unique interpretations of existing material, baring all, only establish him as a cabaret master. There was a Sade-inspired “Into You” (Max Martin/Savan Kotecha/Alexander Kronlund/Ilya Salzmanzadeh/Ariana Grande) that unexpectedly dripped with titillating cravings. And “Why Haven’t I Heard from You” (Sandy Knox/T.

W. Hale) allowed him to flaunt his gospel-stylings to an almighty finish.


Twisting, twitching, shaking, and sashaying, Kilgore’s physical embodiment of the music only further confirms his organic connection to it. And never was this more on display than in the soulful “Defying Gravity” (Stephen Schwartz). Rich with seventh and ninth chords, Kilgore directed the audience to take away his inspirational motif.

“You can’t be torn down,” he sang.  And Kilgore succeeded on all accounts. Early on in the program he almost threw away a lyric: “I’ve got stars in my eyes.” But, with this showing, it’s the audience who bear witness to Kilgore’s star-in-the-making turn.

Randolph B. Eigenbrode

Randolph is the newest addition to the writing staff at Cabaret Scenes. He is a cabaret teacher, previously teaching with legend Erv Raible, and his students have gone on to success in the field with sold-out shows and many awards. He is also a director and that, combined with a knowledge of the art form and techniques that cabaret performing encompasses, makes him love reviewing NYC’s cabaret scene. When not catching the Big Apple’s crazy talent, Randolph loves 1970s variety shows, mall Chinese food, Meryl Streep films and a good cold glass of pinot grigio.