At This Performance

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At This Performance

The Green Room 42, NYC, March 26, 2018

Reviewed by Bart Greenberg for Cabaret Scenes

Stephen DeAngelis

Casting director Stephen DeAngelis (pictured) began his monthly series At This Performance in 2003 and has continued ever since to present some of the best understudies and standbys on Broadway with each concert. Each performer gets a chance to wow the audience twice, once with a song connected to the show he or she is currently or was recently connected with, and a second, allowing each to demonstration a song or role that the actor has an emotional connection to. On this particular evening, DeAngelis’ eye for talent was well demonstrated.

The beautiful Viveca Chow, late of the Miss Saigon revival, had no solo in that show, so she offered up a Kander & Ebb rarity, “Sorry I Asked,” with riveting intensity, and then a softer and very touching “Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again.” Mary Claire King, of War Paint, also couldn’t draw on any solos; she presented the classic “Someone to Watch Over Me,” delivered at a quicker speed than usual, giving it a more optimistic feel, and then followed it with a pitch-perfect (both musically and stylistically) version of Connie Francis’ old hit, “Fallin’.”

The impish Elliott Mattox got to draw on his understudy duties at Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to offer a charming and unsaccharine “Pure Imagination” and then a hilarious “Never Ever Getting Rid of Me” from Waitress, so smoothly done that it seemed a winning audition for the role. His Charlie co-star Monette McKay also paired the number she delivered when she was thrown on stage at the second performance, “Queen of Pop,” with a number from Waitress, “When He Sees Me.” Perhaps this is the next Broadway golden team.

Diamond Essence White showed a sure knowledge on how to build a show tune with “Come to Your Senses” from Tick, Tick… Boom! and, later, “It Won’t Be Long Now” from In the Heights. Perhaps one of the Schuyler sisters is in her future. Ian Liberto, who stands by for the role of Cornelius in the current Hello, Dolly! gave us his performance-level interpretation of “It Only Takes a Moment” and then offered his big solo from his previous show, Chaplin, a cut number entitled “My Brother’s Keeper” that was packed with emotion.

Finally, Britney Coleman, who had been part of the Sunset Boulevard company, brought unquestionable star quality to her renditions of “Will You Love Me Tomorrow,” utilized in Beautiful, and a fully realized Queen Guenevere pondering where to find “The Simple Joys of Maidenhood.”

Flexible musical support was provided by Eugene Gwozdz, who has been with the series from the beginning.

Bart Greenberg

Bart Greenberg first discovered cabaret a few weeks after arriving in New York City by seeing Julie Wilson and William Roy performing Stephen Sondheim and Cole Porter outdoors at Rockefeller Center. It was instant love for both Ms. Wilson and the art form. Some years later, he was given the opportunity to create his own series of cabaret shows while working at Tower Records. "Any Wednesday" was born, a weekly half-hour performance by a singer promoting a new CD release. Ann Hampton Callaway launched the series. When Tower shut down, Bart was lucky to move the program across the street to Barnes & Noble, where it thrived under the generous support of the company. The series received both The MAC Board of Directors Award and The Bistro Award. Some of the performers who took part in "Any Wednesday" include Barbara Fasano and Eric Comstock, Tony Desare, Andrea Marcovicci, Carole Bufford, the Karens, Akers, Mason and Oberlin, and Julie Wilson. Privately, Greenberg is happily married to writer/photographer Mark Wallis, who as a performance artist in his native England gathered a major following as "I Am Cereal Killer."