You know how to get me to fall in love with your production within the first minute? Start off with a smooth cocktail made up of one part Lady Gaga and one part Sweeney Todd, mix it up with some hot choreography, garnish the hell out of it with a lavender back light, then have it served up hot and sweet by a trio of beauteous A Capella boys. Then, just keep going. Walk into Fate, Fury and Musical Theatre: A Kind of Cabaret expecting to be drunk on talent and damn – you’ll get your elixir and more. Much more. Written and performed by front-woman Liz Wasser, Fate, Fury is Fabulous, Fun and Fantastic.
So, back to these voices. These three beautifully blended voices are tethered to the bodies of Michael Hull, Ryan David LaMont and Kennedy Kanagawa, dancing the sleek steps of choreographer Chanda Calentine. The trio represent the three Furies – the three who are one (they not only sing in harmony but speak in perfect unison – intonation and all), and they welcome us – The Children of the 8th day (which is the day AFTER the creator rested). We are special, because we heard the call and responded. What a warm greeting, Furies!
Soon to arrive upon the scene is the lady herself: Liz Wasser, and she makes herself known with a roar of talent, not so much “taking” the stage as “commanding” it. This gal’s got the soul of Aretha and the spirit of Midler – she’s got the pipes AND the three pips, out-Knighting Ms. Gladys herself. This is one hell of a force to be reckoned with so it make sense that the reckoning will be done by the likes of the mystical Fates and Furies.
After blowing you away with her opening number Ms. Wasser takes you on a journey of how this all came to pass, this meeting with the Fates. Entertaining, clever, and not one bit airbrushed, Wasser’s monologue about being a non-equity grain of sand on the beach of equity actors around her is recognizable to both the actors as well as the non-actors in the audience. After all, doesn’t it feel like we’re all trying to swim upstream most days? But as she tells it, it was on one particular harrowing day that Ms. Wasser found herself all the way back in Long Island – Montauk . . . the end of the line. Facing her fate, her fury – her future.
The rest of the show is monologues mixed with music – perfectly paced by director Amanda Thompson and energetically devised by musical director Kristin Sgarro. Wasser’s “Poor Unfortunate Soul” number is so fiery, so electric, so powerful, that she literally transcends the small space of the Red Room and gives a performance worthy of Madison Square Garden.
Wasser brilliantly (and I’m talking from experience here) illustrates and encapsulates the relationship between the gay man and the chubby girl – two genres of social outcast bound together by the feeling that they are performing all the time. She and the Furies then do a fantastic mash up of Fat Bottomed Girls, Baby Got Back and Big Girls You Are Beautiful. Liz – thank you.
A slightly self-indulgent power ballad “How Do I Get You Alone” sung to pictures of Gary Oldman, Benedict Cumberbatch and a slide show of a few other Englishmen shows off her considerable vocal chops but slightly mis-fires. Still, this chick is a firecracker and at this point I was so enamored of her that she could have taken three minutes to go down to KGB bar, get a beer, come back up, and I would have applauded her. Yes, folks, she’s THAT GOOD.
Towards the end, just when I thought there was no more love left to give her Wasser found my secret passion for Hedwig and performed a deeply personal song to the tune of Wicked Little Town.
Finally, she leaves us with this last thought – despite everything it’s just you, but for this one hour, you’re not alone. So if all we have is our own voice . . . we might as well sing.
Liz Wasser and Furies – please don’t ever stop.
~~~Fate, Fury and Musical Theatre: A Kind of Cabaret Presented by The Furies Theatre Company New York, NY The Red Room (85 East 4th Street) $15 Thu 2/24 @ 8pm, Fri 2/25 @ 11pm, Sun 2/27 @ 12:30pm, Thu 3/3 @ 9:30pm, & Sat 3/5 @ 8pm