Droll in concept and uproariously entertaining in execution, Butch it Up! 2 is a cabaret showcasing mostly butch-looking men in army fatigues singing songs associated with female divas, giving new meanings to lyrics one never would have considered ambiguous. The show was performed with great energy and polish, the irony ever-present but always underplayed to hilarious perfection. The song choice is varied and mostly excellent, with everything from girl group to country to Broadway numbers represented. A few ballads provided a paucity of laughs and dragged a bit, but they were exceptions to the rule of campy fun that pervaded the evening and make this show a must-see for lovers of cabaret, drag (though no one's in it), or just great numbers from the last four decades.
The performers were all terrific and showed much versatility. Christopher Andersson got to showcase his talent at playing the bitchy queen to the hilt in one showstopping number ("Moving Out"), and was good in many others. Steve Friday showed he's not only a pretty face, but a good singer and comedian who also happens to play guitar and bass. Scott Gilmore, who co-created the show, was vocally a standout, and fantastically funny in such numbers as the side-splitting take on "Tonight" from West Side Story. Steve Lavner was an ideal piano accompanist and acquitted himself wonderfully when it came his turn to play diva (singing "I Say a Little Prayer") as well. Jeff Sebaugh showed himself a master of both deadpan delivery (in "Don't Cry Out Loud" and other numbers) and over-the-top histrionics (in the showstopping "Aldonza"). Craig Skelton oozed lascivious glee in his well-delivered solo numbers (such as "Something to Talk About").
Director David Leventhal gave the show seamless transitions and witty choreography. Musical Directors Steve Friday and Steve Lavner also did a great job.
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Copyright 2000 Jillian Perlberger