- CHARITY BENEFIT
By John Weatherford
Glorious Summer Nights is the name of the once-a-month shows being presented by KT Sullivan and Larry Woodard at the Laurie Beechman Theatre. Sullivan and Woodard are class acts. They understand their music and they understand their audience. Over the years, I have had the opportunity to see these two cabaret giants perform and one thing is always for certain: they electrifyingly enchant their audience. Watching the two of them together, one is reminded of the beauty of friendship and the respect that artists can share. It is indubitably clear that these two folks like each other. It is also clear that they are proud to be with each other on the stage. From the opening medley, the magic they sparked created a light that was directed straight to the hearts of the crowd of theatre patrons. They clued the eager fans in on what they could expect with their second number, “Some Enchanted Evening.” Without question, the evening was enchanted. From My Jerome Kern and Irene Franklin’s “My Husband’s First Wife” to Sondheim’s “You Must Meet My Wife,” the two brought laughter and joy to the fortunate guests.
As Mr. Woodard set about to do his solo set of the show, Ms. Sullivan slipped away from the stage and directed her energy and appreciation to him. The highlight for me of Mr. Woodard’s songs was his rendition of “I’m Just a Gigolo,” which he filled with a charm and a devilish twinkle that surely reminded us of why he has been so well respected and adored over the years. He plays the piano for both of them and, plays the piano he does. His prowess on the 88s is legendary.
As for Ms. Sullivan, I’m afraid I must admit that I am an undying fan of her voice, her beauty, her kindness and her passion for interpretation of the songwriter’s message. Over many years, I have been fortunate to hear her more than any single performer. I have never been disappointed on any level with her work. I have been privileged to experience her mastery of music on the most respected stages of New York. I might add, she is the only entertainer that I have traveled across the ocean to see headline just for a weekend.
There are many superlatives that can be said for many cabaret artists. The expected accolades could include gifted, genuine, grateful, graceful, glorious, etc. if one were just to start randomly with a letter from the alphabet. Any other letter could also provide a string of descriptive words for entertainers that would clarify their specific use of talent and their unique ability to touch an audience. But, far too few of them have an understanding of music’s healing properties. I have been told that one should never give too much praise in a review for it might indicate that the reviewer is prejudiced toward the subject. Well, I am prejudiced when it comes to KT Sullivan. I adore her gifts. I marvel at her genuine sharing of spirit. I cherish her grateful heart to family and friends. I tingle at the sound of her glorious voice. I admire her graceful command of her stage, and I am mad about her care for every person she holds in her hands as she caresses them with her voice and energy. I know there are many who feel the way that I do.
If, for some strange reason, you have not experienced the sheer majesty of talent, make your way to the Laurie Beechman Theatre and catch the third of Ms. Sullivan and Mr. Woodard’s summer shows. You will not be disappointed by either of these masters and, you will have a glorious summer night.
The next show is August 22nd at 7pm. There will be another chance to see them September 19th at 7pm. www.KTSullivan.com
Photos: Russ Weatherford