Chicago Theatre Review
“Say Yes” to Scott Gryder and His Cabaret
LIFE IS A CABARET! The Music and Words of Kander & Ebb
Last Saturday night the full audience in attendance of Roosevelt University’s cabaret series was bid “Wilkommen” and treated to the charismatic exuberance that is Scott Gryder and his one-man cabaret, “LIFE IS A CABARET! The Music and Words of Kander & Ebb” accompanied by Nick Sula on piano and Phil Martin on drums. The show is a 50th anniversary tribute to the songwriters known for Broadway hits like Chicago, Kiss of the Spiderwoman, and many more.
Gryder has a knockout act put together, balancing high energy numbers like “Ring Them Bells,” funny bits (the audience went nuts for “Sara Lee,”) and ballads such as the beautifully performed “Sometimes A Day Goes By.” He’s a superb tenor, incorporating many songs actually written for female roles, and he is full of personality with a ridiculous level of stamina—as the night progressed he seemed to only acquire more energy, wrapping up with a fantastic Chicago finale.
Yet this kind of evening requires more than a great voice and a set list of favorites to be a success. Dressed in tails, Gryder walked us through the history of the show’s repertoire, providing a brief narrative before each piece and even a Liza Minnelli impression. These introductions keep us engaged throughout the concert, and some numbers like “Bobo’s” are given a fresh perspective with background stories in mind. The songs of Kander and Ebb offer more than entertainment; they lend themselves to an interesting journey through the evening with Gryder as our guide.
Although this particular performance was a one-time affair, if you’re looking for a cabaret, look no further than the expressive, funny Scott Gryder. He’s got a powerhouse voice, many schticks and sentimental moments, and an enjoyable, engaging evening perfected.
Reviewed by Darcy Rose Coussens
Additional information about this and other area productions is available at www.theatreinchicago.com.