Tuesday, June 11, 2019

"Musical Mondays" at LUSH, June 2019

Friends, it's been over a year since I attended Musical Mondays, the monthly cabaret series featuring #TCTheater talent. Part of that is my busy regular theater schedule, and part of it is that since moving to their new home at LUSH Bar in Northeast Minneapolis, the space has felt uncomfortably crowded. Great for them for drawing a big crowd, not so great for this introvert who doesn't like crowds. So I was thrilled to hear that LUSH expanded their space just in time for Musical Mondays' annual Pride celebration! I attended the show last night with my blogger friends from Minnesota Theater Love and Artfully Engaging, and was reminded of just what a wonderful, welcoming, educational, and entertaining evening Musical Mondays is. They're taking the month of July off (because summer is busy), but they'll be back post-Fringe on August 12, and the first (or second) Monday of every month for what is hopefully a long time.

The June Musical Mondays is always a celebration of Pride, featuring LGBTQ+ musical theater songs as well as gender bending performances. See below for the songlist (which MM always posts on their Facebook page the next day for inquiring minds), which includes some familiar favorites, as well as some obscure picks I've never heard of (hence the educational part). This month's lovely and talented six performers all brought much heart and passion to their selections. Especially moving was Brandon's reminder why we still need Pride - because of the violence, bullying, and injustices that LGBTQ+ people still face around the world, and right here.

Here's a list of said performers, along with where you can see them next:
The songlist:
  • Over the Rainbow (The Wizard of Oz) - all
  • Times Like This (Lucky Stiff) - Randi
  • Getting Bi (Crazy Ex Girlfriend) - Denzel
  • Meadowlark (The Baker's Wife) – Brandon
  • Take Me or Leave Me (Rent) - Amanda & Alexa
  • Fifty Percent (Ballroom) - Todd
  • When the Booth Goes Bright (Amelie) - Amanda
  • Soul of a Man (Kinky Boots) - Alexa
  • Then You May Take Me To the Fair (Camelot) - Brandon, Todd, Denzel, Randi
  • Just Breathe (Prom) - Amanda
  • Role of a Lifetime (Bare) - Denzel
  • Old-Fashioned Love Story (Wild Party) - Alexa
  • The Tennis Song (City of Angels) - Randi & Denzel
  • Caveman Song (by Peter Mills) - Todd
  • Male Roles Medley - Randi
  • I Am What I Am (La Cage Aux Folles) - Brandon
  • We Belong (Priscilla, Queen of the Desert) - all
Musical Mondays often invites casts of upcoming shows to give a preview. This month we were treated to an excerpt from the upcoming new original musical Jefferson Township Sparkling Junior Talent Pageant, which beings performances at Park Square Theatre this week, performed by two of the four cast members, Kelly Houlehan and Ryan London Levin. The show is a remount of a Fringe show written by talented local composer/lyricist/playwright Keith Hovis. 

We also heard a song from another new original musical, Great Big Rainbow World by Sarah Julius, sponsored by Ring of Keys, "a national network of queer women, trans, and gender non-conforming artists working on and offstage in musical theatre." This "lesbian rugby musical" sounds super cool and fun and I hope to see it performed. Follow them on Facebook to  find out more and to join the efforts to make that happen.

You can also follow Musical Mondays on Facebook for updates. And make plans to head on down to LUSH (they have great happy hour food and drinks, which can be enjoyed on their lovely patio). With the expanded performance space (the stage has basically been pushed back, doubling the space), it feels much more comfortable and easy to find seating, but was still a pretty full house! They ask for just a $5 recommended donation, all of which goes to the artists, and in exchange you're entered into a drawing for free tickets. See you at LUSH!

this month's performers
(photo courtesy of Musical Mondays at LUSH)