Tuesday, June 9, 2015

"Musical Mondays" at Hell's Kitchen, June 2015

Last night was another fun night at Hell's Kitchen in downtown Minneapolis. On the first (or in this case second) Monday of every month, that's where you can find super-talented local theater artists and real life BFFs Max Wojtanowitz and Sheena Janson. They've hosted this monthly cabaret series "Musical Mondays" for almost three years. Each month features songs around a different theme performed by a different cast of amazingly talented singer/actors. Since it's June, this month's theme was Pride, i.e., gender-bending and/or inspirational songs.

This month's cast included George Keller (frequently seen at Ten Thousand Things), Grant Sorenson (Yellow Tree's Henry in Next to Normal), John Jamison (whom I have not seen in anything before), Liz Hawkinson (Julie in BCT's Carousel), and Stephanie Cousins (part of Yellow Tree's Ivey-winning production of The 39 Steps), with musical direction by Nic Delcambre. As usual the evening's program (which you can view in full on Musical Monday's Facebook page) included some familiar musical favorites, as well as many great songs I'd never heard before. Highlights of the evening include:
  • The opening group  number set the stage for the evening - "Keep it Gay" from The Producers.
  • The boys beautifully sang "At the Ballet" from A Chorus Line, which made me even more excited to see the Ordway's production next year!
  • The girls hilariously sang "You're A Man" from The Full Monty.
  • Liz Hawkinson made West Side Story's "Maria" sound like it was written for a woman to sing. Just lovely!
  • John brought the house down with "When You're Good to Mama" from Chicago.
  • Host Max took the mic and proved he is "The Hostess with the Mostess" (from Call Me Madam).
  • George won the prize for best costume, changing accessories slightly for each character (something she no doubt learned from Ten Thousand Things). I never realized what a creepy song "Standing on the Corner" was, and her "I Am Adolpho" was ridiculous in the best possible way.
  • Stephanie sounded gorgeous on "There But For You Go I" from Brigadoon.
  • Grant sang a couple of Kerrigan/Lowdermilk songs - the charming "Stupid Boys" and the fun road trip song "Freedom," a duet with his middle school buddy Liz.
  • In addition to leading the band (which also included guitar and percussion) on keyboards, Nic sang a couple of songs, including a lovely arrangement of "You Have To Be Carefully Taught" from South Pacific (which I cannot wait to see at the Guthrie next summer).
  • The evening concluded with "Raise You Up/Just Be" from Kinky Boots (tour coming to the Orpheum this summer).

Here's were you can see the cast on stages around the Cities in the coming months:

Be sure to like the Musical Mondays Facebook page for lots of good info about their schedule, performers, and songs. Next month, an all new and no doubt fabulous cast TBA will sing songs of summer on July 6. Show starts at 7pm, and for just a mere $5 you can be entered into a drawing to win theater tickets. Go see it with all of your musical theater-loving friends. I had a great time sharing the experience with my fellow bloggers at One Girl Two Cities and Minnesota Theater Love - check them out for more local theater coverage.