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February 21, 2017:

I’ve Gotta Be Me reviewed by Rob Stevens

Marc Ginsburg has appeared on stage in such musicals as Evita, Fiddler on the Roof, Oliver!, Man of La Mancha, Naked Boys Singing, The Producers and last year portrayed 15 or more characters in The Real Housewives of Toluca Lake—The Musical. He has appeared in Kritzerland shows at Sterling’s Upstairs at the Federal in North Hollywood and on February 19 he debuted his first solo cabaret act there—I Gotta Be Me (whether I like it or not). Ginsburg has a good, strong voice and displayed a quirky sense of humor about his life and career, showcasing his spot-on comic timing. It is really a small world when the first line of the first song of a brand new cabaret act name checks a dear friend. Ginsburg started off his specialty song “Leading Men Don’t Dance” saying he made (award winning choreographer) Lee Martino cry. That opening guffaw from me kept a smile on my face throughout. He proceeded to tell the story of his life through rap to the tune of “Fresh Prince” and then bemoaned his shelved dream of a career in baseball in Paul Stookey’s “Right Field.” Ginsburg did perform many show tunes during his act but he also sang John Lennon (“Beautiful Boy”), Billy Joel (“I Go to Extremes.”) and in one of the act’s highlights brought the amazing Harry Chapin story song “Taxi” to life. His eclectic show featured guitarist David Kirk Grant joining him on stage to accompany him in two rarely heard songs from 1960s Disney films—“Nottingham” from Robin Hood and “Age of Not Believing” from Bedknobs and Broomsticks. At one point he brought his wife, Lisa, whom he met in NYC while doing an immersive production of Kiss of the Spider Woman, to duet on “Marta” and “Dear One” from that show. Ginsburg admitted his favorite style of song is the patter song and then gave us a few rapid fire examples from the works of Gilbert & Sullivan before performing “Museum Song” from Barnum. His “Women’s Medley” had been performed by Nathan Lane & Gregory Hines at the 1995 Tony Awards and although funny at times, could have been more effective with less camping about. By the end of the show, with all that full out power singing, Ginsburg’s voice was starting to fail him at times but he soldiered through his finale and lived up to his show’s title, “I’ve Gotta Be Me.” “A” for effort. Jake Anthony provided the great piano accompaniment for the show.


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