Wednesday, November 8, 2023

Musical Mondays at LUSH, November 2023

Happy 11th Anniversary to Musical Mondays! This monthly cabaret that showcases the abundance of talent in our community, started by BFFs Max Wojtanwicz and Sheena Janson Kelly, just held their 90th show. Can you believe that?! It was my 19th time attending Musical Mondays (previously held at Hell's Kitchen), and just my second since its post-pandemic return to LUSH last December. Every time I go I think - why don't I go to this every month?! (The answer: too many shows, too little time.) It's always a great time filled with fabulous performances, great people watching, beloved songs as well as new ones, and a fun and festive community atmosphere. I've said it before and I'll say it again - if you are casting musicals in the Twin Cities, you need to go to Musical Mondays to scout out new talent, or talent you may think you know but who show a whole new side of themselves in this format. And if you love musicals and our #TCTheater talent, you need to be attending this show too. So mark your calendar for the next show on December 6, and follow them on Facebook or Instagram for updates.

Musical Mondays used to have themes - a particular composer or era or topic. But lately they just let the performers sing what they want, which results in some fun and unique choices that also tell you a little bit about the performer. There are always songs that I know and love (two Jonathan Larsons!), as well as songs I've never heard before that expand my music-theater knowledge. Fortunately they post the set list on Facebook after the show, because sometimes even my musical theater nerd friends don't know them all!

This month's incredible performers (and their next gig) included:

Plus the awesome band:
  • Music director Bradley Beahen on keys (music directing the #TCTheater premiere of 9 to 5 at Lyric Arts next spring)
  • Kyle Baker on guitar (music directing Million Dollar Quartet at Old Log, continuing through February)
  • Matt Nielsen on drums (teaching our youth!)
Here's the song list:

  • Be Our Guest (Beauty and the Beast) - all
  • Waiting for Life to Begin (Once on This Island) - Erin F
  • Taking the Wheel (It’s Only Life) - Mitchell
  • Green Green Dress (tick, tick... BOOM!) - Evan and Erin C
  • Hurry It’s Lovely Up Here (On a Clear Day) - Jorie
  • Anyway (Tales From The Bad Years) - Ben
  • No One Else (Natasha Pierre) - Erin C
  • Michael in the Bathroom (Be More Chill) - Evan
  • Suddenly Seymour (Little Shop of Horrors) - Jorie and Bradley
  • In My Head (by Ryan Scott Oliver) - Ben and Evan
  • With You (Ghost) - Erin F
  • When He Sees Me (Waitress) - Erin C
  • Me and Mr Popularity (In Pieces) - Ben
  • Tango Maureen (Rent) - Erin F and Mitchell
  • The Butterfly (The Story of My Life) - Evan
  • Backwoods Barbie (9 to 5) - Jorie
  • You Coulda Knocked Me Over With a Feather (Some Like It Hot) - Mitchell
  • You Learn (Jagged Little Pill) - all
Another feature of Musical Mondays is that they feature a preview of an upcoming show. This month we heard a song from All About Jane: The Eras of Austen, a solo piece by Monica Livors presented by Buzz Music Theater at Hive Collaborative (the space formerly known as Dreamland Arts in St. Paul). It's a series of songs based on Austen characters, and it sounds fabulous!

There's also a ticket giveaway, for just a $5 suggested donation (all of which goes to the artists), e.g., the Broadway tour of Company and the new original musical I Am Betty at the History Theatre.

If you love music-theater (or are a performer), Musical Mondays is the place to be! LUSH opens at 4 for dinner in their main space, the event space opens at 6:30, and the show starts at 7. It does get busy, so get their early for a good seat, and to find parking. Note: LUSH patrons can no longer park in the lot across the street. If you do, your car will very likely get locked in and possibly towed. I learned this the hard way (don't worry, it all worked out, but it was a close call!).

See you at LUSH!

the incredible cast of Musical Mondays
(photo credit: @cherryandspoon Instagram)