Entertainment

Memory and Mayhem: Live at 54 BELOW

by Steven Bergman
Contributor
Friday Jan 18, 2013
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Continuing its initial releases of new cabaret recordings, the producers of the new venue, 54 BELOW, in conjunction with Broadway Records, are presenting the Tony Award-winning actor and singer, Norbert Leo Butz, in an evening of song and story under the title, "Memory & Mayhem."

Butz is mostly known for his musical work, giving noted performances in Jason Robert Brown’s "The Last Five Years," "Wicked," and the stage versions of "Catch Me If You Can" and "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels." But he has also graced the theatrical boards in non-musicals, notably Mark Twain’s "Is He Dead?" and the recent "ENRON." His flexibility and comfort in both genres come through in this diverse recording, with selections spanning across niches from Alicia Keys to Tom Waits to Ray Charles.

The recording is Butz and a five-piece band, plus Lauren Kennedy, a well-respected singer in her own right, providing backup vocals, and the opportunity to duet with Butz on The Civil Wars’ tune, "Poison and Wine." For those expecting lots of Broadway tunes, Butz primarily sticks to rock and blues, only giving those audiences Brown’s "I Could Love Someone Like You" (cut from "The Last Five Years") and a mash up of "Great Big Stuff" and the Tennessee Ernie Ford classic "Sixteen Tons" to satiate their appetite.

Standouts include the Waits entry, "Broken Bicycles," Jimmy Webb’s "If These Walls Could Speak," and the Marc Broussard song, "Home." All are heartfelt, and are set up by clever, insightful anecdotes from Butz’ life, especially prior to the Webb tune, where Butz talks about the highest of ups (including the birth of his daughter) and lowest of downs (the loss of loved ones). Additionally, he has no problem poking fun at his own name, which he is well aware, though it may bring a smirk, is never forgotten once you’ve heard it.

"Memory & Mayhem" will provide Butz’ fanbase with an opportunity to explore the various repertoire outside the theater of the object of their affection.


"Norbert Leo Butz: Memory & Mayhem"
Live From 54 BELOW
CD and digital formats
Broadway Records / 54 BELOW

Steven Bergman is a Composer / Playwright / Performing Arts Educator based outside of Boston, MA.

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