Variety on a Saturday Night

November 25, 2008

Burgess Guitar & Fork

Ron and I caught the second installment of the VoixDeVille series at Indigo at the Atlas Theater Saturday night.  Scott Burgess (left) is the emcee and put together a terrific lineup for the evening.

After Burgess played and sang a couple of numbers, Vijai Nathan, a terrific storyteller did a piece about trying, as an Indian-American girl, to adapt to her Jewish fiance’s family.  Mark Jaster and Sabrina Mandell of Happenstance Theater did a lovely set of early 20th century songs.  Later Jaster played the musical saw accompanied by Burgess on guitar.  Karen Bariss did some delightfully un-slick magic*, and Terri Allen, Lonny Smith, and Justin Ritchie performed selections from their forthcoming show (which at present seems to be titled In Full Light), accompanied by Alex Tang.

Burgess has expressed the fact that he was influenced by Ed Sullivan as a child and it clearly shows in the variety of the assembled talents.  And of course, the best part is that if an act isn’t to your taste it will soon be over and something new will be up.** A series like this ultimately depends on the taste of the booker, and from what I saw, this venture seems to be off to a good start.

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If I can ever get a link to promotional Web site or a contact e-mail address, I will happily provide it so that the show can find an audience (which is always difficult if an audience can’t find the show).The one disappointing aspect of the evening was the food/beverage service in the room itself.  I can understand being out of the cheese plate and not making coffee/tea available but NO DIET COKE????!!!!  After Ron tried ordering 3 reasonably common drinks and being told they weren’t available, he settled for bottled water, and he never got the cheesecake he ordered.  On an economic front, I hardly begrudge a room a $10 minimum per person; but I find it irksome when the offerings are this limited and scattershot.

* I am long-inured to the fact that if I want to see stage magic, I have to go without Ron.  However, he really enjoyed her act.

** I always think of Charlene James-Duguid saying that in the bygone days of the Source Theater Festival she could always get her husband Jim to the evenings of ten-minute plays for this very reason.