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Sunday, July 22, 2012

"Golden" Boy: Kevin Scott Hall

Kevin Scott Hall is a good friend of mine. He is also a true renaissance man. Singer, songwriter, author, critic, columnist, teacher, cabaret coach, he can -- and does -- do it all. Saturday night, July 21, he entertained at his final show at Don't Tell Mama on 46th Street in Manhattan.

Entitled "Golden," this was Kevin's intended swan song as an entertainer. Hopefully, it will be a farewell performance a'la Cher's or Barbra's, because he was too good not to come back to us onstage. This was Kevin's first show after an eight-year absence from the stage.

Kevin opened with "I'll Play for You" by Seals & Crofts and made his way through a tasteful and creative portfolio of tunes strung together by playful patter, proving he is also a charming raconteur. A discussion of his first colonoscopy somehow seamlessly segued into Alanis Morissette's "You Learn" and, while his stance on gay marriage received applause, it ironically gave way to Kevin's touching rendition of the Frank Loesser 1959 classic, "Never Will I Marry."

It is clear from his monologues that life has thrown a fair share of tragedies and bad luck Kevin's way. He spoke eloquently of the death of his dear friend, Maurice, and of his near-fatal stabbing by a serial attacker in the '90s. Kevin's penultimate number was a gospel-rousing rendition of Paul Simon's "Gone At Last," getting the crowd to its feet in joyful support, clapping in time.

Of course, it was the 12th song into the show that I was most invested in because, you see, it was written by me. It is a disco number I patterned after the Pet Shop Boys (no one song in particular), more homage than spoof, and it's called "No More Mister Nice Guy." Kevin wove the story of his stabbing and -- to add insult to injury -- the court appearances following, into the bridge of the tune.

I was in good company as songs by Stephen Schwartz, Julie Gold, Carrie Underwood and the show's musical director and pianist, Clare Cooper, were also part of Kevin's "Golden" set.

"This fellow sends you back out into New York with inspiration and dreams," wrote WNYX-TV of one of Kevin's earlier acts. Last night's show was proof that Kevin continues to inspire us all with his songs and monologues. I am proud to be his friend.

Excellent support by Steve Marks on bass, Bernice Brooks on drums, Allison Mickelson and Alexus Bertrand-Price on back-up vocals. Kudos all for such a wonderful and entertaining night out.

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