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Cabaret Review: Kerrigan + Lowdermilk At Upright Cabaret

Katie Buenneke |
January 31, 2013 | 3:09 p.m. PST

Theater Editor

Ask any high schooler who is passionate about musical theater for his or her favorite contemporary musical theater composer, and likely as not, she or he will tell you "Kerrigan and Lowdermilk." Who are they, you might ask? Kait Kerrigan and Brian Lowdermilk are two of today's most charming up-and-coming musical theater composers. They're kind of a big deal on the internet, with plenty of YouTube videos of their songs performed by hot young Broadway stars (take Aaron Tveit's rendition of "Run Away With Me," for example).

These videos come from cabarets of their works, often performed at places like Joe's Pub, Birdland, 54 Below, and (Le) Poisson Rouge—all New York venues. What's a West Coast Kerrigan + Lowdermilk fan to do? Find consolation in YouTube videos… or attend the duo's West Coast cabaret at Upright Cabaret in Hollywood last Sunday.

Chris Isaacson presented the one-night-only concert, which took place at Catalina Wine Bar on January 20. The show featured Kerrigan + Lowdermilk's standard pedigree of cast, seeing as the location was Los Angeles, it skewed more towards TV stars than Broadway stars, and was rounded out by some of the composers' friends.

Though the concert got off to a somewhat rocky start with the underrehearsed "The World Is Ending," a full-cast number, it quickly picked up steam. Jesse Ruben, a singer-songwriter, brought a pleasantly folksy vibe to "The Bad Years," a song about the questions that plague twenty-somethings. Opera singer Zach Altman showed the composers' range off with "Rise," a powerful Shakespeare-influenced song about 1970s Ireland.

The concert then took its most disappointing stretch, with songs that didn't quite hit the mark, but Max Ehrich redeemed it with "Barcelona," a beautiful song about the end of a relationship. Sarah Hyland ("Modern Family") and Melissa Benoist ("Glee") brought the energy back up with "Freedom," a joyous celebration of youthful road trips—a performance which would later be "improved" by a singing lesson from Colleen Ballinger's infamous Miranda Sings persona. Morgan Karr ("Spring Awakening") kept the energy flowing with "I Look Around," a jazzy ode to getting over an ex.

The show took a lighter turn with Barrett Foa ("NCIS: Los Angeles") and Randy Blair's take on "Vegas," a comedic tale of two juvenile men who dream of going to the desert city and living dangerously. Laura Dickenson ("Phineas and Ferb") brought down the house with "Avalanche," a belt-y ballad about a woman who is surprised by the power of her own emotions. The concert was brought to a beautiful close with "Holding On," a sing-along number featuring the entire cast, audience, and Melissa Benoist.

Reach theater editor Katie Buenneke here; follow her on Twitter here.

Video footage of the Upright Cabaret concert can be found here.



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