Miscast – Right Singer, Wrong Song
Miscast, creator Mandy Kaplan’s labor of love, is a showcase for performers to sing musical theater numbers they wouldn’t typically be able to because of age, gender, or ethnicity. This being L.A., most people know that certain opportunities just aren’t going to be made available for some performers, but Miscast is their chance!
The ten performers and one fantastic pianist (Jake Anthony) began and ended Miscast with rousing group numbers from Hair, even getting the audience involved in the merriment. The cast ranged from 12 years old to several decades older, with extremely talented, diverse members.
Mandy Kaplan showed off her guitar skills during the very funny “Somebody Kill Me” from The Wedding Singer. Jeffrey Landman, having originated the role on Broadway decades earlier, channeled Les Miserables’ Gavroche while singing “Little People.” Amber Snead dubbed herself “The King of Broadway” while crushing the song from The Producers. The youngest cast member at 12 years old, Olivia Zentzis played much older and wiser in Bye Bye Birdie’s “What Did I Ever See In Him?” Justine Huxley gender-swapped in a very cute and expressive version of I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change’s “Tear Jerk.” Will Collyer gave a wink to the audience with his tongue-in-cheek version of “Key Change” from Michael Bolton’s Big Sexy Valentine’s Special. Jeffrey Polk, making his Miscast debut, sashayed around with a red boa during his stellar “Don Juan” from Smokey Joe’s Cafe.
While the cast members were all very skilled and full of stage presence, some went above and beyond. Mona Chatterjee infused “I Have Confidence” from The Sound of Music with a Bollywood flair, absolutely excelling in the vocal nuances. In the heartbreaking “Diary of a Homecoming Queen,” Patrick Gomez emoted the tiara off the little-known Is There Life After High School? ballad. My favorite song – and probably the most difficult, too – was Justin Michael Wilcox’s rendition of the Hamilton tongue-twister “Satisfied”. Not only did he master the fast lyrics with aplomb, but he also crushed the vocals with his soaring falsetto.
This 23rd iteration of Miscast commanded the stage at Sterling’s Upstairs at the Federal in North Hollywood. Dinner and drinks were available (and encouraged) for purchase beginning at 5:30pm, with the show commencing at 7pm. The ticket sales are donated to Project Angel Food, whose mission is to feed the sick while they battle terminal illness. With the money going to such a good cause, the price was worth it, but I also wished the show was longer than its one hour, with maybe two songs for each person instead of just one. With so many gifted singers, and as a lover of musical theater, my only complaint was that I wanted more!
The next Miscast show is scheduled for May 20th. Check their Facebook page for updates!