Bruce Clough: Silver Linings

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Bruce Clough

Silver Linings

Don’t Tell Mama, NYC, July 15, 2018

Reviewed by Chris Struck for Cabaret Scenes

Bruce Clough

Bruce Clough’s battle with and victory over cancer has turned a singer who once flirted continuously with the “dark side” into a man focused on finding the beauty in life. Starting with George Harrison’s “Here Comes the Sun,” it would seem that all of the show might be focused only on the wonderful things that the future holds in store.

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However, he took some time to discuss the man that was and the journey to now that began on the fateful inauguration day of 2017. A sore throat turned out to be a cancerous tumor. But, with the strength of his wife and his perseverance, he overcame a festering wound that threatened to drag him down and, instead, used it as an opportunity to remake his life.

The show revolved around his strong relationship with his wife to the point that it seemed like the real silver lining of the whole illness was the presence and importance of this singular woman who exceeded the expectations at every juncture. While he did perform songs directly for her like “Storybook Love” (Mark Knopfler/Willie DeVille) from Princess Bride, a film known for its timeless tale of incredible devotion, he also walked through the past that led him to her. Once he was a “Lost Boy” (Ruth B.) pining for companionship and afraid of a bully.

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In one of his best moments, showing off his sizeable, smoky voice, he sang from “Lost Boy,” “My only friend was the man in the moon and even sometimes he would go away too.” But, as with his fight with cancer, he overcame that bully and his flirtations with the women that “used” him to go “from the dark end of the street to the bright side of the road” (from Van Morrison’s “Bright Side of the Road.”)

Aiding Clough in this tribute to love and life’s journeys were music director Jeff Dershin (piano), and the duo of Stephan and Barbara Belfatti, who provided backup vocals throughout the show. While the couple joined on every song in some form, Barbara took a strong duet role in the comedic “Therapy” (Tick, Tick…BOOM!; Jonathan Larson). Clough used this song to poke fun at the small things in life that a couple overcome through years together as well as to show that there are far more serious things that can affect one’s life and circumstances.

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Who knows, one may even look fondly back on the ups and downs after confronting more fatal issues such as cancer. And, of course, that may be the silver lining that we can all take away from this 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