Monday, April 16, 2007

Elvis Unbound - April 16, 2007

As Elvis Unbound was a staged reading, it would be unfair and wrong to review it. Even here in such a non-visible space as this little blog. So although I saw it, I'm reserving any sort of critique of the piece.

EXCEPT....

I don't think it is wrong in any way to point out a couple of really strong performers and give them some credit for a job well done under less than polished circumstances. (No disrespect meant there, it was a staged reading and not meant to be a full-out production.)

That said, I can't resist giving some praise where I feel it is warranted.

Robert Cuccioli (Elvis). Holy Moly and a bag of chips. This guy is amazing. Really. And no, it's not just because he's gorgeous to look at (not that that HURTS in any way). He has a tremendous stage presence, and humor, he moves beautifully and if nothing else: jeez the guy can really SING! I mean SING! Not that bullshit American Idol, Broadway "let's do vocal exercises on stage to wow people with my range" stuff: No. HE can really sing! I saw him once before in Jacques Brel... at the Zipper and he was great, now I see how truly versatile he is and if you can see him perform: do so. You will agree with me.

Raymond Jordan (Preacher/Dr. Nick). I've never seen him before, but I hope I get to see him again. What a beautiful voice on this man. Just great.

Juliette Garrison (Leah/Gladys). She was simply charming. Just adorable. There is one thing that is absolutely essential in a performer and that is humor. I don't mean everyone has to be a comedian - but you must have some sense of humor, a sense of joy, an inner life, it touches the audience and we feel connected. And she has it. And she has a very lovely voice on top of it and is cute as can be.

Jess LeProtto (Young Elvis/Child Singer). Jess is a youngster, and with luck we'll get to see him grow up onstage. For someone so young, he has a wonderful confidence onstage and how a kid can have a voice like this is simply amazing to me. Normally I cringe at 'actor-kids' because they have that fake thing going on. But I didn't sense that from him at all. He was 'doing his job' and he was a pleasure - plus he does an awesome "Elvis". At the finale he and Robert Cuccioli sang together, they seemed to be having so much fun together it was great to watch.

Remember: this is not a real review. I just wanted to give a little praise.

Staged Reading (musical): Elvis Unbound
book and lyrics by Sandra Hochman
music and lyrics by Rob Stoner
Directed by G.Beaudin


Elvis Unbound
37 ARTS THEATRE, Theatre "C"
450 West 37th Street
New York NY

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