Dating in the District can be excruciating, so upon hearing that this engaging, fun-loving cabaret’s plot was based on three friends talking about their misfortune with men, 13 of them to be exact, I was intrigued. Welcome to Leopard Print Productions’ 13 Men—A Cabaret. Real life pals Colleen Brown (co-director,) Faith Hayden (playwright,) and Kendra Keller (producer) respectively play Tess, Lex, and Mary Grace. Their friendship off-screen extends onstage as the women complement each other perfectly.
When male waiter (Jack O’Reilly) walks onto set, he immediately breaks into song and the first thing you notice is how lovely his voice sounds. Alto in nature, his timbre doesn’t scare you away but entices your ears pleasantly. As he sets the table, Lex sits down and orders a drink soon to be joined by Tess and Mary Grace, then the fun begins.
We quickly become aware that Jack will play not one, but all thirteen men. And he nails them all. From Tess’s husband Bill, to Mary Grace’s “The Nat,” and Faith’s Denver, his ability to emulate each character so well is commendable. With music from a live band composed of musical director Jason Mendelson (accompanist, guitar) and Tommy Beyea (fiddle,) popular tunes like Pink’s “Glitter in the Air” as well as Miranda Lambert’s “Hide Your Crazy,” had the house rocking.
Although Tess is married, her strong, no-nonsense approach is entertaining as she is definitely cheeky. However during performances like “Stay” by Rihanna, her character softens and shows that even the most secure have a weak spot.
Mary Grace is the exact opposite. She is sweet with some of the funniest dating stories you can imagine. Relaying them as only she can, the audience laughs more than once as her hilarious romps draw you in and gave thanks that it didn’t happen to them. Yet it wasn’t all fun and games. Her rendition of “Say Something” by A Great Big World gives you chills.
by Faith Hayden, Colleen Brown and Kendra Keller
at Lab II – Atlas Performing Arts Center
1333 H Street NE
Washington, DC 20002
Details and tickets
As the musical comes to a close, you realize that we’ve all been there before. A few broken hearts, too many crazy dates to possibly count, and that it is your girlfriends who get you through. And that, my friends, is what truly matters. Friends to the end.