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Archikulture Digest

by Carl F Gauze

And the Loser Is…

And the Loser Is…
Created by Chris Leavy
Spotlight Caberet Series
Starring Chris Leavy
Musical Direction by Chris Leavy
February 16, 2017
Winter Park Playhouse, Winter Park, FL

If there’s one local artist’s name I type over and over, it’s Mr. Chris Leavy. He directs music for about everything to cross the stage in this building, and tonight he’s leading his own cabaret once again. The theme is “Songs that almost received an academy award.” These tunes were nominated yet failed to grab the gold plated gimcrack. Most of the great material tonight came from the glory days of the Hollywood movie musicals like Irving Berlin’s tune “Cheek to Cheek” featured in “Top Hat.” Berlin had only this one nomination and never won an academy award, mostly because his career largely predated the Oscars.

Tonight’s list of misses IS impressive. There’s “Eye of the Tiger” (not exactly a WPPH style of music). Dolly Parton’s “Nine to Five,” the Bond classic “Gold Finger” and the sad British flicks “Alfie” (from Burt Bacharach and Hal David) all appear, as does Kermit’s “Rainbow Connection” from “The Muppet Movie.” Along with his exceptional musicianship, Leavy has a mountain of back story on all these songs. It’s detailed with footnotes but finally he gives up explaining each number and rolls though an extended medley. It’s just like his normal preshow material, just all film scores and he runs through numbers at twice his normal speed. And like all cabaret evenings, it fun to watch the passers-bye stop and stare at us all sitting on barstools and overstuffed couches watching a man in a silver sequined jacket play show tunes.

For more information on Winter Park Playhouse, please visit http://www.winterparkplayhouse.org

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