Rye Myers: Live with Rye & Friends

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Rye Myers

Live with Rye & Friends

Don’t Tell Mama, NYC, January 14, 2024

Reviewed by Bart Greenberg

Rye Myers

Rye Myers is a breezy, charming, and enthusiastic fellow who clearly has a passion for musical theater in all its aspects. He has devised a new twist on the old genre of television talk shows that has the casualness of Merv Griffin and the focus on a single guest of David Frost and Dick Cavett. Myers has the essential quality of an interviewer: he listens. He is also capable of going off from his planned questions if a guest reveals something surprising or there is an area worth exploring. He does need to escape the mildly annoying habit of inserting “ums” into his speech when he pauses to consider his next comment, something that can be easily corrected with some practice.

For this session, the guest star was Sam Pauly, the original Broadway Katherine Howard (Six) and Jordan in the Papermill Playhouse production of The Great Gatsby. She was a delightful speaker as she shared her bouncy, and at times very emotional, journey from Chicago to New York. Pauly has a great sense of humor and a passion for good theater; she spoke of her work with director Jamie Lloyd in a London production of Evita and said he was the best director she’s ever encountered. She also excitedly shared news about her cabaret show at Chelsea Table + Stage at the end of the month that features several of her Six co-stars. She sang two numbers that showed off her power and wide-range: Ariana Grande’s “POV” (written with Tayla Parx). and “Waving Through a Window” from Dear Evan Hansen. Jeffrey Schmelkin displayed fine sensitivity as he piano accompanist.

Of course, a few more musical spots to go along with the chatter would have enhanced things. Myers’ to provide some variety with trivia questions was amusing, and he had a lot of fun in keeping things moving along. But because he was in a cabaret room with a fine pianist, the balance between talk and singing was somewhat disappointing. It will be interesting to see how Myers and his producers will revise the program to take it the entertainment value up another notch.

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."