It was an evening of heartfelt, emotional, and passionate singing at Open Circle Theatre’s Is Anybody Out There? Open Circle Theatre is a professional theatre company whose productions integrate actors with disabilities. Communication was the theme for the 75 minute cabaret featuring a cast of six of our best local singers -Jennifer Camp, Rob McQuay, Will Mincey, Joe Peck, Scott Sedar and Tosia Shall – singing songs about communicating better with each other and our spouses/lovers, loved ones, friends and God.
The wonderful selection of songs, ranging from works by Andrew Lloyd Webber, to Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse, to Stephen Sondheim, to Comden and Green – reminded us in the audience that we need to “hang on” when things get tough in our relationships, and that we must use our imagination, positive attitude, and faith in God, to help us get through tough times. And, most of all, we must be assertive.
Will Mincey, sounding like a young Ray Charles, shook the The Mead Lab stage twice with his soul-stirring and uplifting performances of Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse’s “Pure Imagination”, and his original song, “Hold on To Your Dreams”. Jennifer Camp’s tender performance of “He Holds Me” made me and other audience members wipe away a tear or two. Rob McQuay’s gorgeous tenor wrung every emotion out of every lyric, when he sang “Bring Him Home” from Les Miserables, “This Is The Moment” from Jekyll and Hyde. Joe Peck moved the audience with “More Than Words”, a song that reminded us that sometimes you don’t need words to tell someone you love them – that a smile, a glance, or a hug can say it more than words.. It was a lovely performance.
Tosia Shall’s lovely soprano reminded the audience that parents have to be careful what they teach and say to their children, because, as Stephen Sondheim wrote for his musical Into The Woods, “Children Will Listen”. Scott Sedar, in his cool baritone, gave a creepy but wonderful performance of William Bolton and Arnold Weinstein’s cabaret classic, “Black Max”, who always tipped his hat,- his way of communicating:
“And at the coffin
Before they closed the lid,
Who raised his lid?
Greg Anderson and Tami Lee Santimyer provided sign interpretation, and Music Director Stuart Welch accompanied the performers on the piano with great energy. It’s so nce to hear an accompanist who doesn’t drown out his performers.
Is Anybody Out There?
By Open Circle Theatre
Directed by Suzanne Richard
Co-Produced by Ian Armstrong and Jennifer Camp
Reviewed by Joel Markowitz