Shawn Ryan’s express

I have seen the future of cabaret, and its name is Shawn Ryan.

What, you may ask, does cabaret have to do with theater? And I answer: cabaret is theater with more music and a two-drink minimum. The jazzier cabaret gets, the more it slides out of the theatrical realm and into the musical realm, but my favorite cabaret folks — Paula West, Wesla Whitfield — bring just as much theater (drama, comedy, panache, etc.) to ther music as they do music to their music.

So now about this Shawn Ryan, Pleasanton native, summer camp operator and recent bright light on NBC’s “America’s Got Talent.” Well, I don’t know about America, but Ryan sure does.

I caught the kick-off of Ryan’s 10-city tour last Friday at the Empire Plush Room in SF, and it was the funniest, most enjoyable cabaret show I’ve seen in a long time. This kid is quite the comedian, and the laughs added a good 20 minutes to an already generous show.

My favorite musical numbers were “My New Philosophy” (the new song from the You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown revival), “I’m Checkin’ Out” (from Postcards from the Edge — eat your heart out, Meryl Streep) and a Disney jazz medley that include’s “He’s a Tramp” from Lady and the Tramp, Everybody Wants to Be a Cat (from The Aristocats) and “I Wanna Be Like You” and “The Bare Necessities” from The Jungle Book. Though he’s all about the laughs and the sass and good times, Ryan is capable of a little drama. Though he eschews ballads because, as he says, he doesn’t want to bore us, he deigns to do one of the best ballads of all time: Irving Berlin’s “I Got Lost in His Arms” and he does it without the pesky microphone.

When the Shawn Ryan express rolls through town again, just go. You’ll be glad you did.
Listen to Shawn sing and learn all you need to know at his official site here.

4 thoughts on “Shawn Ryan’s express

  1. Chad, how about the Adam Pascal express? Should I hop on that one? He is performing Oct. 27th and 28th at the Post Street Theater. What do you know about him and is he a Jones for Theater ‘Must See?’

  2. Hey,Tracy — The Adam Pascal express is going to be, if I might hazzard a guess, mostly songs from his two rock CDs (both of which are enjoyable if not dazzling), with a few “Rent” songs thrown in to apease the fans. Still, hearing him sing “One Song, Glory” might be worth the price of admission.

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