"Singin’ the Blues

American Cabaret Theatre

Directed by Bob Harbin

Through Feb. 25

No matter what happens at the Super Bowl Feb. 4, the American Cabaret Theatre is seeing the bright side. On the ACT stage it’s equally a team of winners, belting, crooning, shimmying, stalking. You name it, this cast has it, and they deliver on every play in the musical revue Singin’ the Blues.

Cessalle O. Smith-Stovall especially sparkles amidst a star-studded cast of nine. She stopped Act 1 with a head-on rendition of “If I Can’t Sell It.” Deaon Smith and Karlton Turner brought us to our feet with gorgeous interpretations of “Old Man River” and “Summertime,” respectively. The inimitable Jimmy Guilford, wearing red patent loafers, put on the moves for “Hoochie Coochie Man,” “Got My Mojo Workin’” and “Minnie the Moocher,” this time in white tails.

Joyce Licorish did song-stylist Etta James proud with “At Last.” Karen R. Ivy-Brown was believable with “I Got a Right to Sing the Blues.” LeToryia Gowdy sizzled with “Why Don’t You Do Right.” LaTasha Strahan gave “Blues in the Night” lush nuances. Phillip Armstrong dishes up delightful characterization to any song, especially pulling off a tongue-in-cheek “Hot Nuts” with elegance. This listing is representative of the show’s 44 numbers.

Bob Harbin’s concept is well-balanced between tragedy and comedy on a set you shouldn’t miss. John Austin Butsch, music director/pianist, leads a jumping seven-piece band with an outstanding trumpeter: Gary Graziano.

The only quibble is with the ear-splitting sound. The audience would like some artistic modulation. At intermission, patrons were imploring this reviewer “to say something about the awful loudness.” One patron mentioned she wasn’t clapping because she had to hold her hands over her ears. No matter, go, enjoy and clap. Maybe some sound person will listen.

Tickets are $20-$25; call 317-631-0334, ext. 102 for reservations, or go to www.actindy.org. Singin’ the Blues is part of Free Ticket February, which provides free tickets to ages 13-19. Free tickets are availabe Sundays, Feb. 4-25 at 3 p.m.



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