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by Michael Portantiere

Boys Night Out

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    As Mary Testa remarked at one point during the Michael John LaChiusa: Boys Night Out concert that was held at Playwrights Horizons last evening: If a bomb had fallen on the theater, we'd have only girls doing musicals.

    Aside from Testa, who hosted the event (hilariously) and offered a moving rendition of "There Will Be a Miracle" from See What I Wanna See, the concert featured an all-male cast singing some of the best work of the remarkably prolific LaChiusa. The event was a benefit for the Transport Group, one of the most invaluable theater companies in the city.

    With Chris Fenwick doing excellent work as music director/pianist, Boys Night Out was two hours' worth of terrific musical theater songs performed by nine of the most talented men in the business. Bobby Steggert started things off with "Safe" from Hello Again and then was joined by Malcolm Gets for the gorgeous duet "The One I Love" from the same show. (Mark your calendar: The Transport Group will be reviving Hello Again March 4-April 3. Visit www.transportgroup.org for details.)

    Next up, Alexander Gemignani sang "The Storm" from Marie Christine. There followed two musical moments from The Wild Party: Max Von Essen in "Breezin' Through Another Day" and Marc Kudisch in an intense, scary performance of "How Many Women in the World." Von Essen returned for the lyrical "How Much Love Can a Heart Hold?", which LaChiusa wrote for the Transport Group show Requiem for William, an hommage to William Inge.

    Chad Kimball was a charmer in two numbers from Little Fish, "I Ran" and the title song. Kudisch topped himself with the title song from The Highest Yellow, and then there were two more selections from See What I Wanna See: the amazing Chuck Cooper in "Morito" and the indefatigable Kudisch in Central Park. Steven Pasquale lent his golden voice to two songs from Giant, "I Need You" and "Lost in Her Woods." (Both The Highest Yellow and Giant had their world premieres at the Signature Theater in Arlington but have yet to be produced in NYC.)

    Andrew Samonsky, most recently seen and heard as Lt. Cable in South Pacific at Lincoln Center, closed out the evening beautifully and appropriately with "Expectations" from Queen of the Mist, a new show that LaChiusa has written for Testa.

    Published on Tuesday, January 11, 2011

    Michael Portantiere has more than 30 years' experience as an editor and writer for TheaterMania.com, InTHEATER magazine, and BACK STAGE. He has interviewed theater notables for NPR.org, PLAYBILL, STAGEBILL, and OPERA NEWS, and has written notes for several cast albums. Michael is co-author of FORBIDDEN BROADWAY: BEHIND THE MYLAR CURTAIN, published in 2008 by Hal Leonard/Applause. Additionally, he is a professional photographer whose pictures have been published by THE NEW YORK TIMES, the DAILY NEWS, and several major websites. (Visit www.followspotphoto.com for more information.) He can be reached at [email protected]

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