Christian Dante White: The Birthday Show

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Christian Dante White

The Birthday Show

The Green Room 42, NYC, October 14, 2019

Reviewed by Bart Greenberg for Cabaret Scenes

Christian Dante White

Christian Dante White, veteran of My Fair Lady, Hello, Dolly!, Shuffle Along, and The Scottsboro Boys, celebrated his birthday by making his official cabaret debut as a star. And a star he is, whether paying tribute to his goddesses Whitney Houston (“I’m Every Woman”), Anita Baker (“Giving You the Best I Got”) and Beyoncé (“Bootylicious”) among others, with a powerful high rock belt, or delivering subtle, thrilling versions of Broadway standards such as “Wheels of a Dream” in a hypnotic bari-tenor. He even delighted as he roamed the audience, singing revised lyrics to “Hello, Dolly!

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” and chatting with his friends, his doting family, and his former castmates, including “the white lady from First Wives Club, who gave him the thrill of his lifetime when she arranged for him to take the final bow when he first went on as Cornelius Hackl.

Not that the generous White held the show all alone.

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The thrilling Amber Iman joined him for an intense “Move On,” and the exuberant Angela Birchett helped to the bring the show to a close with a joyous “The Boss.” Kristina Miller and Helen White provided dynamic vocal back-up, and music director Brian Whitted, drummer Tom Griffin, bassist Ray Cetta, and guitarist Michel Heyaca offered strong support.

Amid all the bombast and theatricality, there were quiet moments that shone with delicacy and true emotion. Dedicated to his grandmother who helped to raise him, “Three Times a Lady” provided a sweet moment, and “A Quiet Thing” displayed the performer’s perfect enunciation and deep understanding of lyrics.

White, with this show, established himself as a unique talent within the cabaret community as well as an exciting figure on Broadway in the future.

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."