I have a theory. Composers should not be allowed in front of a microphone. Not because they are terrible performers, but because it tarnishes the magic of these musical creations that have always felt from another world.
Adam Guettel is a part of musical theatre royalty. He is the grandson of Richard Rodgers (you know, the guy Oscar Hammerstein used to hang out with?) and a successful music theatre composer himself, having created beautiful productions like the Tony-award-winning The Light in the Piazza, Myths and Hymns and Floyd Collins.
Having attended the masterclass just before this concert, which saw Guettel work with four performers, deconstructing performance and songs, his concert promised to provide a further insight into his work. A simple production, the concert was just that – a concert.
Guettel sang a selection of songs from his repertoire, aided by Kim Grigsby (piano) and Haley Bond (vocals). His performance technique is fine and although he noted he was unwell, the vocals easily presented the songs in the concert format.
For this reviewer, it was the banter and the connection to Guettel’s work that was a bit pedestrian. Perhaps Guettel was tired and jet-lagged. Perhaps his cabaret skills need a bit of work, or the audience was dulled by the afternoon time slot – however the connect between performer and audience was detached and bland.
Light in the Piazza is still a beautiful piece of musical theatre and Guettel’s achievements are a fantastic addition to the Cabaret Festival, but the concert itself left us wanting more.