‘Revenge of the Understudies’ at Signature Theatre’s ‘Sizzlin’ Summer Cabaret’

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The second  cabaret offering of the evening on Sunday, July 26, 2014 (See the review of the first cabaret: Good Times: A TV Theme Song Cabaret: Maria Egler and Stephen Gregory Smith) at Signature Theatrewas a Signature summer cabaret tradition, Revenge of the Understudies. The Show featured 16 talented singers, all of whom understudied one or more of Signature shows this past season: Amy Conley, Joshua Dick, Lottie Doughty, Sean Fri, Alyssa Gagarin, Kimi Hugli, Kevin Kulp, Steve Lebens, Emily Lentz, Hary Lester, Claire Manship, Tobin Moss, Nora Palka, Jessica Thorne, Mick Tinder, and Wood Van Meter. 

What a treat it is to see theater performers who have served as understudies for one or more Signature shows during the past year, and maybe went on-stage in those shows once or twice, if they were lucky, finally have their moment in the spotlight. Under the direction of Music Director Joel DeCandio (musical director), these 16 performers put on a great show.

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Some of the highlights for this special show were: Lottie Doughty sang a fantastic version of “Naughty” from Matilda, so good that she is ready to jump into the lead part in that show. Nora Palka, an understudy for Gypsy whose one fine moment on the Signature stage was playing the back of the cow, did a stellar performance of “I’m Just he Girl that Can”t Say No” from Oklahoma.

Tobin Moss, a fixture at Signature, usually at the ticket office and a proud understudy in Pride in the Falls of Autrey Mill, stole the evening with his hysterical rendition of stalker ballad “To Excess” by Kooman and Dimond.

The evening finished on a very high note with Kevin Kulp singing a duet with surprise guest, Christopher Mueller, whom Kulp had understudied in Miss Saigon last fall. Kulp joked that Mueller never missed a show to give Kevin his big moment and it was time to take his revenge. They sang a sensational duet, “You’re Nothing Without Me” from City of Angels, in which the understudy ably proved himself worthy of his role. In a nutshell, that was what this wonderful tradition of Signature honoring its faithful understudies was all about.

Running Time: 75 minutes, with no intermission.

Revenge of the Understudies is part of Signature Theatre’s Sizzlin Summer Nights cabaret series that played through Sunday, July 26, 2014 at Signature Theatre – 4200 Campbell Avenue, in Arlington, VA. For tickets to other performances at Signature, call (703) 820-9771, or purchase them online.