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The Oddball’s Ball: A Miscast Cabaret

Reviewer: Kristine Gotham

Venue: Historic Masonic Temple of Bay City

We have a hidden artistic gem in the Great Lakes Bay Region, the historic Masonic Temple in Bay City.  This architectural beauty is a creative center for writers, artists and most notably singers/performers.  Recently audiences were treated to an evening of songs from Broadway shows sung by performers who were not necessarily the first that one would think of when choosing who to cast.   

Erica Tatum served as host and performer.  She brought a comedic touch to each introduction while also informing the audience about the singer and why they might be miscast for the song they would be singing.  

When one thinks of the song Don’t Rain on My Parade, one usually imagines Fanny Brice or Barbara Streisand portraying Fanny Brice.  Hillel Rak-Mehler does not fit this image.  An adolescent, Hillel, performed this song with gusto, hitting the notes and displaying a bravado not usually found in one so young. 

Brightyn Henika, not a teenager, performed with all the teenage angst that one would expect in their rendition of If Only You Would Listen from School of Rock. 

Elliott Bell, looking remarkably like Matilda with fiery red hair, entertained the audience with Quiet. 

The Lightening Thief’s, Good Kid, performed by Lux Izquierdo.  While not a teenage boy, tossed out of many boarding schools, Lux displayed the emotion and desire to fit in and be seen for who he truly is that one would see expect. 

Bryanna Foster performed If I Only Had a Heart, from The Wizard of Oz.  Obviously not a man, and not made of tin, Bryanna sang with a longing that one has seen in performances on both screen and stage.  The props of heart shaped balloons helped to create the desire of the Tin Man to have a heart. Side note: Bryanna was the Tin Man in costume as a six-year old. 

Meg Barnard entertained with Shiksa Goddess.  Meg helped the audience to feel the frustration of the character as he longed to find a woman who is definitely NOT Jewish. 

Hillary Huebler performed the next song, Johnny One-Note, from Babes in Arms.  Hillary was the pianist for all of the songs and was definitely NOT one note! 

Dave Ryan performed Ladies Who Lunch, from Company.  As Erica noted, Dave was miscast because he loves lunch.  Dave’s voice reminded me of Lauren Bacall.  Dave encouraged the audience to participate with the song by rising at the end when the song said “Rise!” 

Erica Tatum joined the lineup as performer along with Erin Whitfield, singing Agony¸ from Into the Woods.  Erica has been upbeat and comedic as MC, so to see her as one who has lost her love, is definitely a miscast. 

Luna Celeste, singing Whatever Happened to my Part, from Spamalot, was miscast not by gender but by vibe, as stated by Erica.  While the singer in the song is a diva to the end, Luna is definitely not in real life. 

The performance that was the most miscast of the evening had to be Meg Barnard and Drew Miller, singing Suddenly Seymour, from Little Shop of Horrors.  Meg arrived onstage in a button down plaid shirt, dockers and horn rimmed glasses.  Drew, looked lovely in a short pink party dress with spaghetti straps.  Drew’s beard and hairy legs added to the allure.  At the end of their performance, Meg dipped Drew, as any “gentleman” should. 

Little Girls, from Annie, was performed by Brightyn Henicka.  Aided with the addition of baby dolls as props, Brightyn, adeptly performed as a middle aged drunk woman with total disdain for small children, especially little girls. 

The evening was rounded out with a performance of Cell Block Tango, from Chicago.  Hillel, Lux, Drew, Erica, Luna and Dave are not prisoners in the cell block, but they brought to mind why “he had it coming”. 

This evening of songs was presented as a fund-raiser for the beautiful Masonic Temple.  Erica mentioned to the audience that the Temple will be undergoing foundation renovations in Spring/Summer 2024, as the first step in major renovations of this beautiful building.  There is a full calendar of events coming up that can be found on the historic Masonic Temple of Bay City website.  Check it out. 

 

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