Sunday, August 30, 2009

CABARET review - Bitter, Party of 3 @ Sterling's

(l to right) Kelly Dodson, Jon Paul Burkhart and Josie Yount performed their act Bitter, Party of 3 @ Sterling's Upstairs @ Vitello's Saturday, August 29 to overwhelming audience approval. Every song they picked dealt with a personal complaint, mild to vehement, like...for example, that an actor may have about the auditioning process or that a neighbor has against a noisier neighbor, etc

Both Yount and Burkhart are splendid character actors, and with a keen sense of comedy to guide them, can be ultimately expressive in the execution of a tune. Yount, for example, had a field day with "The Girl in 14 G" where she really showed off her incredible vocal range as well as in Jason Robert Brown's enjoyably stinging "Climbing Uphill" a no-holes-barred sendup of casting directors/producers/directors who don't listen to the auditions set before them. Burkhart, the clown with the rubbery face, was a hoot in his duet with Yount "The Song That Goes Like This", and then showed remarkable versatility with his sweet, serious take on "I Can't Make You Love Me". Dodson is less flambuoyant than divaish Yount, wears little makeup - presenting herself perhaps a bit too plain -but does have a lovely voice and did a beautiful job with Scott Alan's gorgeous "Fly Away (Never Never Land)". She could have done more with the humorous "Alto's Lament", but faired better with Yount on Stephen Schwartz's "What Is This Feeling" from Wicked. May I suggest to Dodson, without being overly critical, that she pretty herself up more next time around, and - go for it!

Whether in solos, duets or as a threesome, Dodson, Burkhart and Yount wasted no time talking, but did a solid hour of singing, and for the most part, it was a very engaging and entertaining set.

Perhaps next time, they could create a little spoken dialogue or sketch to enhance their Bitterness. After all, all 3 are successful actors with the acclaimed Musical Theatre of Los Angeles (MTLA), whose future engagements you cannot afford to miss. I hear Evita may be on the horizon?

Once again, kudos to Michael Sterling who has been the backbone, along with partner Tony Monsour, of the phenomenal 3-year success story of Sterling's Upstairs @ Vitello's, the premiere supperclub of the San Fernando Valley.


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