Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Everything Old is New Again

victor cook, originally uploaded by Uptempo Orpheus.

The sun is not out today but my spirits are still high. The past few weekends have been great. I am back to my old status of full on Social Butterfly.

Straight & Nappy are participating in a showcase show in February called WORDSFEST (formerly WORDS). We will be performing on Friday and Saturday nights. The Friday show is devoted to music and spoken word. Rebecca and I (along with another comedy ensemble)are the comedy for that night. The artists on the program are so wonderufully talented. Artists like Kevin Coval, Iambic 3, Motep, and Ugochi are burning the stage up with their poetical and musical skills. Even though we rehearsed much later than I expected, I still enjoyed being around such great talent.

Saturday night was another night of talent. I got a call from my friend Kim. Kim is a professional stage manager. We recently worked together on Schoolhouse Rock Live! but we first met when I did Showboat at the Auditorium Theatre in the late 90s. Kim told me she had an extra ticket for a performance of Too Hot To Handel, a jazz gospel redux of Handel's Messiah. It was also at the auditorium (our old stompin' ground). It featured Roderick Dixon, Alfreda Burke, and Victor Trent Cook.

Dixon, Burke, and Cook may not be household names but they should be. Dixon and Cook are best known for being two of three tenors featured in the show Three Mo' Tenors (they now bill themselves as Cook, Dixon, and Young). Alfreda Burke is a wonderful soprano and the wife of Roderick Dixon. In one of those "small world" or "everybody knows everybody in show business" stories, Alfreda and Rod were also in Showboat Alfreda was in the show when I joined the cast and I took over Rod's role after he left in order to appear in the Broadway production of Ragtime.

Victor Trent Cook is also no stranger to Broadway having appeared in Smokey Joe's Cafe. He was nominated for a Tony for that show but didn't win. Ironically, two of his competitors were people that I worked with in Showboat. He did win the Star Search $100,000 male vocalist championship back in 1998. Rest assured, the boy can sing. He is a countertenor and has the highest and most pure sounding male voice that I have ever heard.

The show was very good. It included an orchestra that featured classical and jazz musicians, most notably Alvin Waddles (that man can rock a mofo piano). In addition there was choir. The choir really deserves their own post. I can't tell you how funny it is to watch a bunch of white folks in tuxedos rocking out to Handel.

For me the greatest pleasure was going backstage to say hello to Alfreda and Rod. I also got to meet the conductor and Victor Trent Cook. The man has one hell of a voice. In addition, he has these beautiful light brown eyes and smoothest brown skin.

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