Young new performers who you may not have heard about are finally getting their time in the ARK spotlight at Signature Theatre. Katie Mariko Mariko Murray, Ines Nassara and David Rowen have paid their dues along the fringes and toiled in ensembles throughout the metro area. Now it’s their time to shine in the cabaret show Holiday Follies.
The songs fly by with old faithful favorites mixed in with new tunes. The arrangements are spectacular and Signature’s talented trio bring new life and vitality to melodies with crystal clear harmony. Katie Mariko Murray can stride an octave as easily as she handles a ukulele. She brings a sweet island sway to Christmas Island sharing her messages with a charming delivery.
David Rowen has the ease and mellow tones of a young Donny Hathaway, complete with high range falsetto on demand. I’ve seen him over the years from Smokey Joe’s Café to Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds. He’s quick witted, engaging, and fun to watch.
closes December 16, 2017
Details and tickets
Ines Nassara has the sultry tones of a seasoned jazz vocalist who is as comfortable playfully bantering with the audience as caressing her notes. What she does with “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” should be experienced with a strong hot toddy on the side—she lays it out. Also, check out her photo as Dorothy in Ford’s production of The Wiz, opening next March. Catch her now and you can say you knew her when…
Together, the trio have breezy fun relating stories and tales about Christmas traditions as youngsters growing up with (or without) the “Man with the Bag.”
The three are so talented, they’re even able to tackle a sophisticated Techtronics music group acapella style with “Angels We have Heard on High” which is absolutely stunning. Same thing with the Hanukkah Prayer—their blended harmonies strike the perfect balance with warmth and precision for a remarkable rendition. Hats off to music director and pianist Howard Breitbart who assures a mellow flow and the jazzy ensemble with Eric Seay on bass and Chris DeCharia on totally unobtrusive drums.
With two large decorated Christmas trees flanking the stage and tables set up cabaret style, the setting eases you into the holiday spirit, and before you know it, you’ve kicked back into a jolly groove. The songs harken back to treasured memories with promising young performers who are carrying the honored traditions forward with good will and cheer.
Holiday Follies is a fast-moving treat organized by the multitalented Matthew Gardiner who knows how to entertain. The word is out, the two-week run is already selling out, the show just opened and it’s already sizzling hot.
Holiday Follies . Directed and Conceived by Matthew Gardiner . Musical Direction & Piano – Howard Breitbart . Cast: Katie Mariko Mariko Murray, Ines Nassara and David Rowen . Musicians: Bass—Eric Seay. Drums—Chris DeChiara. Piano—Howard Breitbart . Lighting Design and Light Board Operator—Jonathan Maag . Sound Mixer– Xiomara Mercado . Produced by Signature Theatre . Reviewed by Debbie Minter Jackson.