Brewer Daniels: Finding Home

  • Post author:
  • Reading time:3 mins read

Brewer Daniels

Finding Home

Don’t Tell Mama, NYC, April 28, 2024

Reviewed by Bart Greenberg

Brewer Daniels

Finding Home was more of a two-person musical comedy than a straightforward cabaret show. Both Brewer Daniels and his real-life husband Gene Gosselin played characters, not themselves—at least not officially. How much of the show drew on their individual personalities and experiences was hard to tell, though the honesty and believability of the tales they shared suggested that at least some of them were drawn from their own lives. While both performers have pleasant but limited vocal abilities, their charm was limitless, and the script (by Daniels) was very moving. Under the fine direction of Laurie Brongo, and with strong support from music director/pianist Eric Alsford, the show made for a lovely afternoon.

The program kicked off with the truly funny song, “In Short” (Benj Pasek/Justin Paul), that expressed a revenge fantasy typical of every betrayed gay man. Moving back in time, Troy (Daniels’ character) told the bittersweet story of his boyhood friend and first love that included the touching song “Simon” (Peter Allen). (Throughout, the wedding of vignettes and songs was truly effective.) There was an account of a less-than-satisfying encounter with a cousin that led to the comic and sad “Before I Lose My Mind” (Georgia Stitt). He found himself adrift, seeking a home, a place where he could be himself. Stitt’s “Stop” became his touching “I want” song.

There were still some roadblocks on Troy’s voyage to home, which included a very funny visit to “Burning Man” (Jeff Blumenkrantz) accompanied by a stud who had a very different world view. Finally, at work, he encountered a fellow teacher, Sam (played by Gosselin) for whom he developed an instant “Man Crush” (Sam Carner/Derek Gregory). After some miscommunication, they admitted their love for each other. Gosselin offered a beautifully delivered solo on “Through the Eyes of Love (Theme from Ice Castles)” (Marvin Hamlisch/Carole Bayer Sager) that had a genuine sincerity that cut through the song’s sentimentality. The couple confirmed their love with the title tune by Randy Newman.

This charming musical comedy/cabaret brought the best of both genres to the stage. It is clear the audience will look forward to what the team of Daniels and Gosselin creates next.

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."