Karaoke Killer, a murder mystery with music. Directed by Stephen Sanborn. Reviewed by J. Peter Bergman.
The cast of "Karaoke Killer" (l-r):Mark Lienung, Connie Lopez, Diane Boyce-Yorck, Nicole Molinski, Fran Martino, Brian Mauch, Cyndi Miller, Kim Mauch, Matt Leinung; photo: Stephen Sanborn
"Welcome to the Pink Flamingo!"
For bartender Jack Daniels first night at The Pink Flamingo, a Columbia County, NY karaoke bar, there is an announced competition with a $10,000 prize. Singers have signed up to compete and a local judge, Whiney Barfly, has been brought in to handle the decision and bar owner Pinki Zalooza is wearing her best outfit, including hat. Folks arrive. The Indapool sisters, Shapipi and Shadookie. Shapipi's ex-husband Lou Netunes is among the numbers. Husband and wife team Rocky Rhodes and Bonnie Lass prepare their Sonny and Cher impressions and waitress Marion Kind is encouraged to perform even though she is still getting over her auto accident that resulted in one man dead. When murder strikes mid-evening the fun has only half begun.
This is a show that has the great feeling of things just happening for the first time and that includes interaction with the audience before the show, at intermission and during the second act. Be prepared! You may be asked to compete with the local "pros." I did. I performed Kurt Weill's "Mack the Knife" and received my prize. (Hint: It's a four-note song - if you don't really sing its a winner!)
What this show is really about is the fun of karaoke and the thrill of being asked to help solve a murder. The actors all play their roles well and their seeming lack of talent is all to the good. There are some wonderful moments: Lou's constant crass remarks about his ex-wife resonate; Jack's hilarious encouragement of Marion gets funnier each time; Whiney's over-the-top pronouncements all stick in my memory.
There are some singable performances that won't be forgotten either: Bonnie's lyric soprano version of Cher (America's premier contralto) and Rocky's moustachioed missteps as a bogus Sonny, Lou's rich baritone and Marion's high-pitched throatiness. This all makes for fun in a local arena.
I'm sorry that Whiney doesn't have her chance to break into song and dance, but she does dance. And that sound guy in the corner, gets his moment with the karaoke choices from the audience. So if you have nothing else to do and want a few good laughs and a chance to get up and sing, go to The Two Of Us Productions presentation at the Copake Grange tonight for the second and final performance of "Karaoke Killer." For Reservations call 518-758-1648.