BRINGING A SENSE OF COMMUNITY TO TIMES SQUARE
SUNDAY, JANUARY 16, 2011 1:29 AM SANDI DURELL
Consummate actor, singer, director and interpreter of dreams, Eric Michael Gillett, continues to raise the bar of excellence in this collaboration with songwriter Craig Carnelia as they explore songs from the original “Cast of Thousands” production, intertwined with newer songs from “Is There Life After High School?,” “Working,” “Three Postcards” and “Actor, Lawyer, Indian Chief.” The result: - brilliance!
The introspective Gillett charms the pants off as he sings and speaks about life, love, loss and the passage of time as he shamelessly invites us into his personal world. The story-songs of Carnelia must surely have been written with a vision of an Eric Michael Gillett in mind, a someone who could reach into the depths of his soul with unabashed honesty.
How much more heart wrenching does it get than “Give Me A Nickel/You Can Have The T.V.,” a window into the devastation of breaking up. On a brighter side, there’s growing up watching “Old Movies” with an entourage of stars, Humphrey Bogart (who saved the day), John Wayne, John Payne, Eve Arden, who humorously come to life then fade in a quick segue characterization into a second rate actor with dreams unachieved in “Blood on the Moon” (you wonder why and watch it go . . . you ever seen that one?).
The intelligently woven flashbacks that resound in all of us are focused luminously in a suite of bitter-sweet memories and the passage of time as we relive “The Kid Inside” and “What You’d Call A Dream,” emphasized by the photograph of Gillett, age 4, with his impossibly beautiful mother, found after her recent demise and portrayed in “The Picture In The Hall.” Then there’s “Joe” – a sad, yet witty, memento of life after retirement.Gender aside, “Just A Housewife” is always a powerful reminder of the mundane, thankless day to day boredom of raising kids, cooking and cleaning.
I sit in awe listening and watching the astounding rendition of “Flight” knowing its rightful ownership belongs with Eric Michael Gillett. As he magnificently soars to greater heights, there is no doubt this enhanced “Cast of Thousands” will succeed in finding its place in theatre.
Joe Cubeta accompanied on piano with arrangements by Christopher Denny and Cubeta at Don’t Tell Mama on West 46th Street.