Daniel Breaker and his crew at Joe's Pub. (Photos 2012, Steven P. Marsh)
Broadway star spices up his elegant cabaret set with help from fab up-and-comer Jo Lampert and Broadway vet Morgan James
The inimitable Daniel Breaker at Joe's Pub.
We’re hoping Daniel Breaker is going to be a regular on the Joe’s Pub stage. His performance there Sunday night, April 22 — his second cabaret show there — showcase the winning singer/actor even better than the first. He seemed more comfortable in his role as a front man, and less like an actor putting on a show.
Jo Lampert kills it at Joe's Pub, with drummer Christian Cassan in the background.
With the help of a dozen or so musical compatriots — including drummer Christian Cassan and music director/guitarist Jon Spurney from his time in the hit musical “Passing Strange” — Breaker put on a great show.
He sang original and classic cabaret numbers, and even dipped into rock with Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” charming the crowd all evening.
Breaker’s special guest vocalists once again gave him a run for his money. In Breaker’s last show at Joe’s, guest Condola Rashad threatened to steal the spotlight altogether with her amazing power and charming stage persona.
Breaker clearly didn’t feel threatened. He chose equally intense guests for this show. Jo Lampert, who not long ago was a production assistant at Joe’s Pub and who was involved in the Public Theater’s incarnation of “Passing Strange,” blew the doors off with her rendition of Beyonce‘s “Halo,” and also filled in superbly on backing vocals.
Morgan James, currently in the cast of "Godspell" on Broadway, at Joe's Pub.
Morgan James, who’s in the ensemble with “Godspell” on Broadway, also did a great job.
Kelvin Dinkins Jr. and William Jackson Harper (a must-see in our book after his amazing work “The Total Bent” at the Public Theater) helped out on backing vocals.
Romeo (Damon Daunno) and Juliet (Kelly Barrett) in the Williamstown Theatre Festival production of The Last Goodbye. (Photo by Sam Hough)
When The Last Goodbye blossomed on the stage of downtown Manhattan nightspot Joe’s Pub in April 2009, Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone? knew director Michael Kimmel (who also conceived and adapted this show) and his collaborators were onto something good. The idea of pairing the lyrics and music of tragic pop star Jeff Buckley with Shakespeare’s story of tragic lovers, Romeo and Juliet, had an instant appeal.
And it took shape well onstage. My mind was blown by that early reading. It went through some changes, was re-presented in New York City this March, and now it’s taking a polished form at the Williamstown Theatre Festival in Massachusetts.
Many members of that original Joe’s Pub cast remain with the show. And that’s for good reason. They’re great.
Word of mouth
We haven’t yet seen this fully staged version, which opened on Saturday and runs through Aug. 20. But the word is very good. A friend of this blog who saw the Joe’s Pub version calls the Williamstown production “quite good,” with “much better integration of the bard’s language.”
Jeff Buckley, the tragic rocker who lost his life in the Memphis River almost a dozen years ago (May 29, 1997) is finally getting a turn onstage in a theatrical mashup of his music and William Shakespeare’s story of Romeo and Juliet.
The result is The Last Goodbye, an adaptation by NYC-based director Michael Kimmel. It will get three nights of concert readings at Joe’s Pub in New York City: May 11, 25 and June 1.
The cast comprises 14 young actors, two of whom I know — the fabulous Jo Lampert, who is artistic relations associate at Joe’s Pub, and the fantastic Ariela Morgenstern, a San Francisco native who made her off-Broadway debut last year in the acclaimed production of Adding Machine.
Buckley’s timeless, haunting music should work spectacularly well with Shakespeare’s classic story.