Monday, December 21, 2009
Simon Green Traveling Light
“Simon Green Traveling Light" is so thoroughly entertaining and original it was enough to make a happy non-traveler like me ready to pack her bags and head for the airport. Teaming with the gifted David Shrubsole on piano, Green sings of geographical destinations as well as personal journeys in his latest cabaret act, which opened last night as part of 59E59 Theaters’ Brits Off Broadway series.
Like other cabaret shows, “Traveling Light” has its selections that touch the heart, as Green does when he sings songs like Irving Berlin’s “How Deep Is the Ocean,” but this show also stirs the intellect with writings and poetry from Mark Twain, Walt Whitman, Robert Frost, W.H. Auden, J.R.R. Tolkien and others, some of which Green recites and some he sings, thanks to Shrubsole’s inspired musical settings. It’s a special evening.
It also has delicious moments of humor, such as with Green’s performance of “Some Little Bug,” about the likelihood of getting sick while dining in foreign countries. Eat “clams in chowder” and “the angels will singing louder” because they know you’ll be joining them. Eat chili, and “on your breast they’ll place a lilly.” It’s a funny song, and one that was completely new to me.
Green and Shrubsole are wonderful entertainers who know how to put together a show and deliver each song for maximum effect. Aside from his cabaret shows, Green has performed extensively in musicals in London’s West End, including three original productions of Stephen Sondheim’s shows. Shrubsole has an impressive list of credits as an orchestrator/arranger, conductor and composer.
Adding to the sophisticated atmosphere for “Traveling Light,” the theatre space has been transformed into a cabaret, with candles on the tiny tables and drinks available if one desires. I look forward to these shows each year. They’re a nice departure from the usual holiday fare.
“Simon Green Traveling Light” continues at 59E59 Theaters, between Madison and Park, through Jan. 3. I strongly encourage you to go.
For tickets, call Ticket Central at (212) 279-4200 or go to www.ticketcentral.com. For more information, visit www.59e59.org.