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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, August 19, 2011 - Volume 39 Issue 33
New Voices 11: More new voices, more new music
Arts & Entertainment
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New Voices 11: More new voices, more new music

by Miryam Gordon - SGN A&E Writer

Monday evening was the kick-ass musical cabaret of the summer, as Brandon Ivie and his Contemporary Classics presented New Voices 11.

This semi-annual one-night presentation continues to feature some of the best voices in town singing new songs from up-and-coming musical writers around the country. As usual, on hand for musical accompaniment was RJ Tancioco and an ever-growing band of musicians (it used to be just RJ on piano!) to make sure these great singers had the backup they needed.

For the first time, increased audience demand made it necessary to present the show twice - at 7:30 p.m. and at 10 p.m. - at ACT's Bullitt Cabaret. Ivie started the cabaret to showcase his young friends on break from their college careers at conservatory programs around the country, and now some of his local friends are performing at New Voices having toured with huge musical productions around the country or performed on Broadway.

Ryah Nixon, back from a year touring with 9 to 5, is a New Voices veteran who sang 'Make Me Happy' by Ryan Scott Oliver, along with Jesus/Judas performer (Village's Jesus Christ Superstar) Aaron Finley.

Vicki Noon, a Kidstage (Village Theatre) vet, has come back from years of touring with Wicked and is scheduled to perform soon at 5th Avenue Theatre. Vicki took on 'Love Me, Love Me Not' by Joey Contreras.

Kendra Kassebaum, also from the Wicked tour, dropped in to sing a heart-tugging 'America' by local musical writer Chris Jeffries, from his upcoming Maggie Cassidy.

Another local-been-to-Broadway, Louis Hobson, starred in the Pulitzer Prize-winning Next to Normal on Broadway. His song 'Hey Kid' was brand-new, written just for this occasion by Next to Normal writers Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey. Ivie informed us all that Kitt and Yorkey like the song so much (it's a welcome-to-parenthood song) that they're thinking to include it in the newest musical they're working on. That's how 'new' the New Voices music can be!

Local favorites such as Greg McCormick Allen made their maiden appearance at New Voices. Allen did the most whacked-out song of the evening, 'I Really Really Love You,' by Scott Burkell and Paul Loesel. With words like 'I'm a stalker' and maniacal laughter, he was fall-down funny. Another New Voices virgin, Jerick Hoffer, dressed in high drag, gave it all for 'The Ballad of Sasparilla Safirovich' by the same (crazy?) authors from their Sorta Love Songs musical.

Younger up-and-comers abounded, showing just how much talent Seattle is home to. (Apologies to the wonderful singers not being mentioned due to space.) Kirsten deLohr Helland performed a searingly dark and almost funny 'Old Mr. Drew' by Kori Withers and Michael R. Jackson, about a 17-year-old letting her piano teacher touch her because she was bored. She'll step up to a major role in Oklahoma at the 5th Avenue Theatre soon.

If I've whetted your appetite for more, and I hope I have, there should be New Voices 12 in December (for one night). You can check Facebook at www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=96893384600.

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