54 Below is Broadway’s Supper Club. Jennifer Tepper has recently taken over as Director of Programming and has created some truly wonderful nights of entertainment. The venue has been on my list of places to go and on Monday night I was given my first chance to attend a show. 54 Below has been doing the “RSO Fest” which is three shows of Ryan Scott Oliver’s. This week they did a theatrical concert of his new musical DARLING with book by Brett Ryback. DARLING is a dirty little romp which tells of a girl taken from her upper class-family by a boy where he introduces her to a world of drugs, jazz and sex.
Derek Klena played the boy, Peter. With his gorgeous, clear voice, he could sing the phone book and I would be glowing. What a treat to hear him live. I’m sure all the ladies who watch him play Fiyero each night in WICKED are dumbfounded by his impeccable stage presence, voice and demeanor. Andrea Ross who played Ursula was engaged in her part. Her voice was pretty but she struggled with transitions between her head voice and belt a bit. The orchestration was absolutely lovely with a ten piece band comprised of a piano, woodwinds, trumpet, trombone, guitar, violin, cello, bass and percussion.
The ensemble sounded lively on “The Dollar Game” and “Song of the Dead Fairy”, however, there were times where the harmonies were very pitchy in other places. The orchestration was spectacular but I had a hard time relating to the lyrics for the most part. There were only one or two songs I really latched on to that left a lasting impression. For example, Derek singing “Lost Boy” was a highlight.
All in all, it was a great night out. It was nice to see friends and meet new people as well as hear new music. The show itself was a tad bland for my taste because it didn’t seem to fully come together yet. Yes, it was a theatrical concert but it seemed some of the puzzle pieces were missing. For more information about Ryan Scott Oliver’s music visit his website: http://www.ryanscottoliver.com/
Rating: That Is The Question