You will be entertained.
You will be the entertainer!
Milwaukee Repertory Theater Artistic Director Mark Clements has taken the piano bar and dueling piano motifs and subverted them in the Stackner Cabaret to warm our hearts on cold January evenings. Voila, Piano Men!
Pianists Nygel D. Robinson and Steve Watts share a minimalist stage and their respective pianos…working through song requests submitted by the audience (get there early enough to fill out a request card) and relayed to the stage via a tablet computer. So the show you experience will be different than the one I saw this past Friday.
There is a very comfortable camaraderie between the two men as they take turns fulfilling those requests…and a bit of underlying competitiveness as well. And it all adds up to good fun. And as they develop and select their playlist there is an easy patter between them and some anecdotes and stories to be shared with you! (you might hear some complaints about Milwaukee weather)
Some of the best bits are songs that they both play along with, sometimes with counterpoint from their keyboards, alternating the vocals on verses, or taking a verse and handing off the chorus.
You may sing along. Nay, you will be encouraged to sing along! You will be required to sing along. You will be the entertained and the entertainer!
And the stage was perfectly suited to the performance. Two baby grands facing each other before an aged brick wall with ‘graffiti’. And I am sure the acoustic properties of brick helped bring out the sound of dueling pianos just exactly right.
But be ready for the lightening round last 15 minutes or so when Mr. Robinson and Mr. Watts put away the pads…and try to identify songs that they know from the ones you shout out from the audience!!!!!
This is the Stackner Cabaret. So I encourage you to make reservations and have dinner before the show. AND the show is 90 minutes with no intermission, so make sure you have your beverage of choice and any dessert or snack in front of you before the lights go down.
Piano Men is at the Stackner Cabaret from now until February 27, 2022. As I said above it runs about 90 minutes without intermission.
One last thing: Mr. Robinson will be replaced by Colte Julian starting February 8, 2022.