Under the disco balls and black lights at Below Zero, members and guests of the Cincinnati Men’s Chorus’ “Valentines Cabaret: Crazy Little Thing Called LOVE,” treated the crowd to individual talents and personalities. While the regular season performances often features solo singers with Cincinnati Men’s Chorus backup, the minimalist cabaret setting with accompanist, Theo, allowed Chorus members and guests to show off their solo voices and personal styles.
Solo singing requires a different kind of listening and singing than the choral approach — standing out instead the focus on part-singing and blending voices. It was a pleasure to see familiar faces in this intimate performance venue, singing selections ranging from the dramatic to the comic.
Selected in an audition process, supertainers from the CMC pleased the crowd with covers of well-known tunes like Etta James’ “At Last,” Simon & Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” Barry Manilow’s “Can’t Smile Without You” and Natalie Cole’s “Miss You Like Crazy.” Members highlighted favorite songs from musicals, including “Music of the Night” from “Phantom of the Opera,” “Being Alive” from Sondheim’s “Company,” and “Maybe This Time” from “Cabaret.” Interspersed throughout the evening were witty takes on love with “Good Thing He Can’t Read My Mind,” “Taylor the Latte Boy,” and “I Could be Jewish for You.”
Hostess with the mostest, Hometown Drag Queen Penny Tration, kept things moving with funny introductions and saucy interviews. The Cincinnati Men’s Chorus has two more concerts their 29th season celebrating Queens, one in April, “God Save the Queens,” celebrating British music from The Beatles to Benjamin Britten, and one in June, “Dancing Queens,” reveling in the music of “Big Gay Icons” like Madonna, Cher, and Beyoncé. With only two performances per concert, get these dates on your calendar to experience the full force and power of the Cincinnati Men’s Chorus.
Kari E. McLean is a returning wanderer getting reacquainted with the area and its exemplary arts programming. A theater aficionado, a coffee addict, and a Fiona fan, she keeps turning up in spots all over the Tri-State like a good penny.