Seth’s Talent Showcase: Jerry Herman Cabaret
Don’t Tell Mama, June 4th, 2019
I’ve seen a sampling of Seth Bisen-Hersh’s shows now, both when he’s been the producer and when he’s been musical director. He’s efficient, throws in a dash of the comical, and generally lays the gist out very well. When it came to his Jerry Herman show, there was a special pep and for good reason. Bisen-Hersh brought in a solid line-up of performers and had strong underlying material. As musical-director and MC, he guided the movement of the show by sharing anecdotes about the exceptional Herman between songs. The songs were taken from Herman’s musicals, arranged one-by-one from Mame to La Cage Aux Folles in no particular order. Bisen-Hersh sang a pair of songs, but most notably, his commentary drew laughs as he pointed out the tricks of cabaret that generally go unspoken such as “complementing your audience, so that they like you.”
My favorite performances were in the core of the show on all three of the Mack and Mabel songs, which included “Look What Happened to Mabel” sung by Elizabeth Budinoff, “I Won’t Send Roses” sung by Brian Childers, and “Wherever He Ain’t” sung by Katie McConaughy. The trio stood out among clean performances by the rest of the cast, through a dash of panache, which added a little extra to their songs. By acting their songs well, they were able to communicate meaning beyond the lyrics.
They weren’t the only ones to throw in a solid performance, however. Sallie Bieterman captured a taste of the Broadway glitz of Hello, Dolly! with a strong performance of “So Long Dearie.” One of my favorites from the show, Bieterman’s “Goodbye. Don’t try to stop me Horace, please” was especially believable. Also solid, Mary Lauren and Paul Hanegan, joined Childers and McConaughy on the farcical song, “Elegance,” belting sweetly the lines, “We’ve got Elegance, we got built in elegance/and with elegance, we’ll carry it off.”
With Bisen-Hersh at the piano, it’s safe to say this talented cast “carried it off.”