THE BEST OF TIMES AT (MOSTLY) MUSICALS
BY RYAN M. LUÉVANO
Where can you hear the finest performers in town? Some of them Tony nominated and others Broadway bound? The answer is: at (Mostly) Musicals, the L.A. concert series/cabaret produced by Amy Francis Schott with music director Greg Nabours at the piano.
On Monday April 25, 2016 (Mostly) Musicals presented a night entitled “It’s About Time”, with a running theme of time at the E-Spot Lounge in Studio City. This evening featured a prepared set of wonderful performers followed by an open-mic segment after the concert. Hats off to Amy Francis Schott who curated the delightful collection of brilliant and entertaining performers for a sensational evening of song.
Once the audience warmed-up, and for me, the night officially kicked off with Jason Peter Kennedy’s performance of “Moving Too Fast” (Last Five Years, Jason Robert Brown). From the first chord by Nabours, then Kennedy’s first vocal entrance the audience was hooked—Kennedy’s big voice brought so much energy and power to this classic JRB song.
Up next actor Espiridion Magana shared a brief story about how after seeing an all male performance of Cabaret in the sixth grade led him to believe that Sally Bowles was a male role until he was in college. Magana sang a passionate rendition of “Maybe This Time” (Cabaret), with later choruses in Spanish.
Soon after, Joshua Finkel took the stage vested in leopard print pants and carrying a 3-foot club to sing the Peter Mills favorite “Way Ahead of My Time a.k.a The Caveman Song”—an exuberant performance, complete with dance break. Then Dedrick Bonner brought us a rhapsodic rendition of the Billy Vera song, “At This Moment”—Bonner’s voice is an agile full range instrument that you can’t help but love. Completely changing the pace Broadway veteran J. Elaine Marcos performed a hilarious stand-up routine in advance of singing a parody of “The Greatest Love of All” which included a little striptease.
Another Broadway veteran Rhett George sang a soulful and mighty rendition of “Unchained Melody” that captivated the entire room. Jeffery Polk soon took the stage giving audiences a version of “Just in Time” that fused jazz and R&B in a way that was just perfect. Jasmin Richardson sang a West Coast premiere of the Kevin Ray song “Killing Time,” a song that feels like it was written for Richardson’s rich and dynamic voice, as every note was pure gold. Towards the end of the program showbiz legend Sharon McNight sang the introspective and potent art song, “Picture In the Hall” (Craig Carnelia)—a stunning and bewitching performance.
WHAT ABOUT THE MUSIC DIRECTOR?
Music director Greg Nabours is a superlative musician and a vocalist’s best friend. About Nabours, Derick Bonner said it best this evening, “[Greg] is going to church on that piano.” Following McNight’s performance Nabours sang, “As Time Goes By” while sharing a personal story about how his skill for the piano came from his grandmother’s talent for jazz piano playing, reminding us that often who were are today is the result of something that happened long before we were born.
The concert ended with a company performance of “Holding On” (Kerrigan-Lowdermilk) led by Laura L. Thomas—a spectacular way to conclude the evening. Whether you like musicals or not, if you love great music (Mostly) Musicals is the place to be in Los Angeles for a great time and to hear the best performers around. For more information about (Mostly) Musicals visit their website: www.mostlymusicalsla.com or follow them on Facebook or Twitter. Until next time!