If you find yourself sitting in a room, looking at Jeff Harnar engaged within the act of appearing a display, it’s tough to not in finding your self considering that he’s the most productive within the industry, tough to suppose that there’s any person else who understands the artwork type of cabaret higher. Clearly, it’s not true as a result of there are any choice of artists these days running within the cabaret and live performance business who’re nice performers that perceive the craft to which they follow their talents. However when you find yourself sitting and looking at Jeff Harnar carry out a display of his introduction, it’s most commonly unattainable to consider any person else or to consider any person else being reasonably so excellent as he’s.
Not too long ago, Jeff Harnar completed a run of displays at The Laurie Beechman Theatre. This system, I KNOW THINGS NOW: MY LIFE IN SONDHEIM’S WORDS is the newest in a protracted line of cabaret displays created via Mr. Harnar – displays with a theme, displays with a point of view, and displays with an immaculate script created to take the target audience on a adventure. Those displays, beginning with CARRIED AWAY, the musical cabaret that made Jeff Harnar a celeb a scant 4 (ish) a long time in the past, have a form, they have got a layout, they have got a temper that is not in point of fact new, certainly, they’re displays constructed at the basis of the cabaret performs introduced in downtown golf equipment within the Nineteen Fifties, the Nineteen Sixties, and the Nineteen Seventies. But if Jeff Harnar sat right down to create Carried Away, and each and every display he has created since, he should have requested himself what could be maximum unique to who he’s, and, having discovered it, he has stayed in that lane ever since. It is running for him, so there is not any explanation why for Mr. Harnar to modify lanes: whether or not running as a solo artist or along friends like KT Sullivan and Shauna Hicks, a Jeff Harnar display at all times appears like a Jeff Harnar display. It at all times feels contemporary, it at all times feels leading edge, it at all times feels distinctive to the Harnar model. An individual purchasing a price tag to a Jeff Harnar display can depend on high quality leisure, and they are able to depend on being shocked via the artwork being created, sooner than their very eyes. However with the musical cabaret I Know Issues Now, Jeff Harnar has raised his bar to a top heretofore unattained. Jeff Harnar, sitting right down to create this Sondheim tribute display, had a function to easiest the whole thing he has ever achieved, and he has succeeded. Factually talking, whether or not or now not he can easiest this bar, transferring ahead, will probably be a fascinating adventure to observe. This creator is prepared to guess at the horse, however it’s going to take a Herculean effort as a result of I Know Issues Now: My Lifestyles In Sondheim’s Phrases defines cabaret, it defines what cabaret will also be, and it defines the paintings to which each and every individual presuming to set foot into the business must aspire.
Running along Musical Director Jon Weber, Jeff Harnar took a handful of songs via Stephen Sondheim, tore them up, threw them into the air, and the place the items landed, he constructed a Jenga of Phrases that may inform his very private tale. Heaven is aware of how lengthy it took those musical companions to place the entire items in combination but if they did they made a brand-new Sondheim musical with a tale that, whilst private to Harnar, is in all probability relatable to with reference to any person to witness the display… in the future or some other. Even supposing Harnar speaks to the target audience on the height of the display, by means of welcoming them and introducing Weber, his tale is a play. As soon as the welcome speech is concluded, Mr. Harnar is in personality and in efficiency. Each and every phrase sung, each and every sentence formulated, each and every interplay with the target audience is designed for the aim of telling the tale. Deliciously theatrical, the piece is rarely (now not as soon as, now not at any time) self-conscious, coy, or cringey: Harnar is aware of easy methods to inform the tale in techniques subdued and techniques over-the-top, and he hurls himself into each and every second with the experience and exuberance of a real skilled. His is a tour-de-force efficiency that reasons his masterpiece of a script to come back to existence sooner than our very eyes. In reimagined preparations that bust open our earlier congress with the works of Sondheim, Weber and Harnar encourage awe. The target audience member will revel within the second when one sentence, 3 phrases, or only a musical word from Weber’s piano insinuates right into a track from which they didn’t originate; it frequently feels so herbal that an individual may well be prone to pass over it… till they notice that it was once there, the place it had in the past now not been, and the place we by no means dreamed it would paintings. In the course of the impeccable sung-through script, Harnar’s take-no-prisoners appearing, Weber’s omnipresent give a boost to, and Sondra Lee’s discernible path, I Know Issues Now supplies the audiences with leisure that does not simply interact on account of the standard of the written works and the distinction of the onstage appearing – it will get our consideration as a result of it’s thrilling, in all of the old and young. We all know those songs. We all know those sentences. We all know those feelings. We idea we knew those songs. We idea we knew those sentences. We idea we knew those feelings. Jeff Harnar had different concepts. He wrote them down. He and Weber (running along bassist Steve Doyle and drummer Ray Marchica) labored their deconstructing magic, and what we’re left with is a factor of surprise, a display of tough storytelling, and one of the most easiest nights of cabaret prone to be discovered at this time – unforgettable, impeccable, and fully unique.
And Jeff Harnar.
I did not know him, however I want to suppose Stephen Sondheim would have authorized. I Know Issues Now honors the overdue Maestro in the most productive techniques conceivable: new artwork and nice storytelling.
Jeff Harnar I KNOW THINGS NOW: MY LIFE IN SONDHEIM’S WORDS will also be adopted at the Jeff Harnar site HERE.
This run of displays of I Know Issues Now coincides with the discharge of Jeff Harnar’s album via the similar identify. Learn the Broadway International Cabaret overview of the album HERE and in finding it on all virtual platforms. CDs are to be had at the Jeff Harnar site HERE.
The Laurie Beechman Theatre has a site HERE.
Pictures via Stephen Mosher