A TIME TO REVIVE proves that sometimes blind dates are magical at The Green Room 42
Wouldn’t it be cool if a composer wrote a custom song for you? Cabaret artists live for these tunes that tap into their true essence and express exactly who they are as artists. This is the premise and the goal of MUSE MATCH, a concert of unpublished works for the benefit of The Musical Theater Factory. The event’s founder, Bill Coyne, described it as a “blind date of musical theater”. Cabaret artists are paired with a composer or a team of composers. They answer a series of in-depth questions about what they believe in and what’s important to them as people, and voila! a custom song.
MUSE MATCH XIII: A TIME TO REVIVE, as the title suggests is the 13th night of such songs since 2014. Last night’s show at Green Room 42 is indeed a revival, Muse Match’s first concert since almost 3 years. To date, the event has brought together 300 performers and songwriters and produced over 200 new songs. All proceeds benefit The Musical Theater Factory, which incubates new works of musical theater and strives to promote inclusiveness from all walks of life. Last night’s collection of story songs was generally comedy-oriented.
Johann George kicked off the evening with Julia Riew’s “Nothing Special”, a 50s bop song about an extraordinary romance between ordinary people. Jenna Pastuszek followed up with Spencer Robelen’s “Bicoastal is the Way,” a gospel-flavored rock track about Pusturszeck’s burgeoning two-coast career and the challenges that success presents. Chad Burris sang a very funny Billy Reece tune on his night out at the one and only gay bar in “Alma, Arkansas.” The moral of the song was that joy is where you find it. Daniel Maté wrote an ironic song for Donna Viviano called “Life Hack”. The interior monologue is about a woman who slowly falls in love with her date, who, as it happens, has also hacked her phone. Noir/espionage imagery is ripe for good satire.
Kevin Michael Murphy raised OCD to hysterical levels in Rachael Covey’s “Goodnight,” delivering a series of insomnia-inspired cerebral rants to his very sleepy partner. The overactive brain theme was picked up by Kendyl Ito, who delivered a bravura performance, singing “Anger Issues” by Kit Goldstein Grant. Paul Fujimoto’s “Hello, Tomorrow” was a wonderfully introspective read by Kim Onah. The song was a tender anthem about the importance of hope and looking to the future. Jackey Good gave us a welcome soprano moment with Eli Cohen’s “Home,” a song about a life spent on the road and an appreciation for all that’s truly important. Lexi Lawson gave us a different take on domesticity in “Why, Oh Why?” by Dylan MarcAurele. It’s a comical look at every mother’s experience during that short developmental period when every toddler seems to have a death wish.
My favorite track of the night was David Alan Thornton’s “Ootu,” an otherworldly rock fantasy that wouldn’t have sounded out of place in Tina Turner’s mouth. Darius Anthony Harper brought exactly that level of energy. John-Andrew Morrison found the fun side of dating Grindr in Amanda D’Archangelis and Sami Horneff’s “Communicate,” as he attempts to arrange a date with a stud who doesn’t speak English. Rachel Parker brought equality to the fore in Peter Saxe’s inspirational song ‘Time For Us’. Ms. Parker has a beautiful voice and is a natural storyteller. The concert finale was a workout for the multi-talented Seth Eliser. Singing the song he wrote with James Michel Lambert and Natalie Kramer, “Right on Time,” he started on piano, moved on to guitar, and finished on drums. Impressive, indeed.
The quality of songwriting in MUSE MATCH XIII was consistently high. And each artist took up the challenge to deliver. In my opinion, this is exactly where the cabaret should be heading. While I love all of The Great American Songbook’s artist retrospectives, there’s nothing more exciting than being there for the birth of a new work. Kudos to Bill Coyne and The Musical Theater Factory for adding thirteen new tracks to this Songbook last night.
For more information or to donate to The Musical Theater Factory, visit mtf.nyc. For more great shows at The Green Room 42, visit greenfignyc.com.
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