Tuesday, October 13, 2015

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

Last night was "Gentleman's Night" at Musical Mondays at Hell's Kitchen. Which means that this installment of the almost 3-year old monthly cabaret series featured five fabulous men. Hosted by real-life and onstage BFFs Sheena Janson and Max Wojtanowicz (see their original autobiographical musical Fruit Fly for more on their relationship), Musical Mondays is a great way to support local talent, mingle with the theater crowd, and enjoy some amazing performances of musical theater songs beloved and new.

In addition to the music, Hell's Kitchen (located on 9th Street in downtown Minneapolis) offers a nice beer selection and some tasty appetizers and meals to enjoy while you watch. The event is free, with a $5 suggested donation that goes to the performers. In exchange you're entered into a raffle to win tickets to current shows, which this month included:

As a special treat this month, the Twin Cities Public Television series MN Original was there filming for an upcoming feature. If you've never seen MN Original, I highly recommend you check it out to see the amazing work of Minnesota artists, not just theater artists but all art forms, some you didn't even know existed (all episodes available online).

The cast was accompanied by the master Jerry Rubino on keyboard, Bill Crean on bass, and Bob Beahen on drums. The full set list from last night's show is available on the Musical Mondays Facebook page, but here are a few of my favorites:
  • Tre Searles beautifully sang "Can't Help Lovin' That Man" from Show Boat, and an inspiring anthem called "Belief" with which I was unfamiliar.
  • Sherwin Resurreccion was a charming "Mr. Cellophane" (from Chicago), and led the cast in the always fun "Sit Down You're Rockin' the Boat" from Guys and Dolls, which I still remember him singing at a Mu Gala years ago.
  • Kevin Leines sang a lovely rendition of "Try to Remember" from The Fantasticks (and he looks a little like Jerry Orbach too!).
  • Andrew was adorable singing the title song from She Loves Me, and also sang a song from Jonathan Larson's Tick Tick Boom.
  • Matt Goinz was the one member of the cast unfamiliar to me, but if his favorite musical theater song is "Being Alive" from Company, and he can sing it this dreamily, he's OK in my book.
  • The guys combined for a couple of duets, including Kevin and Matt's beautiful "Lily's Eyes" from The Secret Garden, and Andrew and Tre on "Just True" from Yank.
  • In addition to giving us chills with "Finishing the Hat" from Sunday in the Park with George, Max also made us laugh while serenading his newly married co-host Sheena with a song he'd written to the tune of "Somewhere That's Green" (possible new chapter of Fruit Fly?).
  • The cast of MMT's Murder Ballad sang a number from the show, which made me wish I could see it! Unfortunately with just three Friday night performances, my schedule would not allow it. But you should go see the last performance this Friday at Bryant Lake Bowl!
Before closing the show, the guys told us where we could see them next. Tre will be in Sister Act at the Chanhassen, opening next month; Andrew will be singing in Second Fiddle's one night only staged reading of The Most Happy Fella next Monday; Matt performs with the excellent vocal ensemble Cantus; Sherwin will be serving delicious food on his food truck; and someone needs to hire Kevin so we can see more of him!

That's it for this month. The next Musical Mondays will be an anniversary celebration on November 2, and it sounds like a fantastic line-up! (Unfortunately I won't be able to make it because I'll be in NYC, recovering from having run 26.2 miles, and seeing as many shows as I can!) Stay tuned to the Musical Mondays Facebook page for information on upcoming shows, as well as when you can see the MN Original feature.