Wednesday, March 8, 2023

"Musical Mondays" at LUSH, March 2023

Great news, my musical theater loving friends: Musical Mondays is back at LUSH Lounge and Theater in Northeast Minneapolis! After a nearly three-year pandemic-induced hiatus, this fabulous monthly showcase of #TCTheater talent returned in December of 2022. I finally was able to attend this past Monday, the 83rd Musical Mondays since BFFs Max Wojtanowicz and Sheena Janson started it some ten years ago, and the 18th I've attended. It felt so great to be back in LUSH's spacious event space (remodeled a year or two prior to the pandemic) in a room full of music, love, and friendship. There's a real atmosphere of fun and camaraderie at these events, amongst the cast and the crowd (a great place to spot local "celebrities"). But of course, the focus is the music, and it's spectacular. Every casting director in town should attend these shows to find some new talent, especially the next one, on April 10, that will feature "fresh faces" (new to MM and/or to #TCTheater). And if you're just a music-theater lover like me, it's a great place to go hear some showtunes, both familiar and new, fantastically performed by our local talent.

There's typically a theme at Musical Mondays, but they may be doing away with that a little to give performers a chance to sing something that they really love to sing. This month's cabaret featured a group of really talented performers: Alan Bach, Anna Hashizume, Kristina Mitchell, Adam Qualls, and Maya Richardson, accompanied by a three-piece band (John Lynn on keyboard, Kyle Baker on bass, and Matt Nielsen on drums). Each performer gets a solo or two, plus some duets and group numbers. Thankfully, they always post the set list the next day on the Musical Mondays Facebook page, because there are always a couple of unknown gems:

  • photo credit: @cherryandspoon Instagram
    Corner of the Sky (Pippin) - Alan
  • Lost in the Brass (Band Geeks) - Maya
  • Maybe I Like It This Way (The Wild Party) - Kristina
  • Never Ever Getting Rid of Me (Waitress) - Adam
  • Before It’s Over (Dogfight) - Anna
  • You’ll Never Know (Hello Frisco Hello) - Max
  • Love is an Open Door (Frozen) - Alan and Maya
  • Unlikely Lovers (Falsettos) - Anna, Kristina, Adam, Max
  • Another Life (The Bridges of Madison County) - Maya
  • Shitshow (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend) - Adam
  • Stars and the Moon (Songs for a New World) - Kristina
  • She’s Not Me (In the Light) - Anna
  • Waving Through a Window (Dear Evan Hansen) - Alan
  • One Fine Day (Beautiful) - all

Another great feature of Musical Mondays is the previews of upcoming shows. This month, Marley Ritchie sang "Your Daddy's Son" from Morris Park Player's upcoming production of Ragtime, in which she'll play Sarah (performing March 31 - April 16 at Edison High School). To close the show, Jennifer Grimm sang "Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart" from her Judy Garland show, which she'll next be performing at the Chart House in Lakeville (I saw her do it at Crooners a few years ago and it's an incredible show).

Finally, each of the performers has a chance to plug a current or upcoming project:

Follow "Musical Mondays at LUSH" on social media for info on upcoming shows. Typically it's the first Monday of the month, but April is an exception - it'll be on the second Monday, April 10. LUSH has a great event space, with food and drink service before (doors open at 6:30) and during the show (showtime at 7), and their restaurant/bar area is also open prior to that. I highly recommend you put this show back on your monthly calendar! We have such incredible music-theater talent in this town, and this is a great opportunity to see them show off their skills in an informal setting.