Have you ever wrapped a towel around your head as a makeshift turban and emoted “With One Look” into a mirror, or longed for the day the word would accept a tall, white guy playing Effie White just so you could rip through “And I’m Telling You” eight nights a week? Anybody? Nobody.
Admit it: if you’re a musical theatre fan, you’ve fantasized such things, and in the superfun new cabaret show “Un-Type Cast,” now playing Monday nights at 8pm at Davenport’s Piano Bar through October 24, the fantasy comes to life. You’ll cheer along as a mega-talented quartet of singers, under the direction of Christopher Pazdernik, sell their perfectly mismatched songs with every fiber of their beings.
We’re treated to Ryan Lanning performing “Poor, Unfortunate Souls” from The Little Mermaid, Lina Kernan-Wass ripping down the house as a young, black Mama Rose, Charissa Armon as French painter Georges Seurat offering a thoughtful “Finishing a Hat” and Brian-Alwyn Newland channeling his inner Sally Plummer to devastate with “Losing My Mind.” Pazdernik provides his trademark “fun facts” to set up each set of songs.
This tightly arranged 70-minute show is packed with showstoppers, but my favorite moments were Brian-Alwyn Newland and Kernan-Wass’s thrillingly sung “All the Wasted Time” from Parade and the Ragtime megamix which closes the show, where both race and gender go out the window, but the intensity of the numbers remain. (Fun fact: Armon played Mother in Porchlight Music Theatre’s Ragtime a few years ago, and here Armon wails through “Your Daddy’s Son,” while Kernan-Wass, who played Sarah’s friend in Porchlight’s Ragtime, power-belts the final section of “Back to Before.”)
This is the fourth cabaret show I’ve seen assembled by Pazdernik, and I’m always impressed by the selection of the material and music direction (by Aaron Benham) — but, most notably, the quality of talent is consistently astounding. Do yourself a favor and see this revue.
“Un-Type Cast” plays Monday at 8pm at Davenport’s Piano Bar, 1383 N. Milwaukee Avenue through October 24. More info here >