NYC3: Hoosier-hosted cabaret

June 4, 2009
Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share
Third in a series of reports from my recent NYC trek.

I swear I wasn't looking for an Indiana connection when I set out to find out where Broadway show folk hang out -- and perform -- after the curtains come down.

But when I learned about After Party at the West Bank Cafe's Laurie Beechman Theatre, I was happy to find, at the center of the madness, Indiana's own Brandon Cutrell.

An open mic where Broadway talent sings what they want to sing, the After Party it featured a talent level almost disturbingly high. Alysha Umphress, soon to appear in the new Green Day musical "American Idiot" was an early-in-the-evening highlight.  Nick Adams from the Broadway casts of "A Chorus Line" and "Guys and Dolls" anchored a short set with "On the Street Where You Live." Susan Mosher, from the B'way "Hairspray," brought the house down with a hilariously improvised number, based on her most recent audition, comedian Kevin Meaney was pulled up from the crowd to give away some prizes (his tablemates included actress Kathy Najimy) and it went on like that for a wonderful anything-can-happen evening.

I stayed until about 2 a.m. (and would have happily hung out longer if friends didn't need to get back to Brooklyn and Long Island). Host and ringleader Brandon Cutrell says he keeps things going until people stop buying drinks, which can mean four in the morning.

Cutrell has deep roots in Indiana. Born and raised here (with parents still in Greenwood), he appeared in Young Artist productions at Indianapolis Civic Theatre, studied opera at IU Bloomington -- although he kept getting cast in the theater department's musicals -- and he sometimes comes back to work at Brown County Playhouse (He starred in the musical "Suds" last summer).

He probably gets sick of the work puckish, but the adjective describes both his look and his spirit. Not afraid to (playfully) insult his guests or push them to do something they might otherwise not (such as getting the aforementioned Nick Adams --who also works as an underwear model -- to take off his shirt), Cutrell says he tries to hold the rauchiness until after midnight. On my visit, he wasn't terribly successfull at that -- not that anyone in the enthusiastic audience seemed to care. And it helps that Cutrell himself is a wonderful singer, setting the bar high early in the evening with a rendition of "That's When I Miss You." In all, a fabulous host.

Before the show on Friday, Cutrell noted that a number of Indiana-rooted folks are on B'Way now, including fellow IU student Nicole Parker starring in "Wicked" and Carey Anderson doing the same at "Avenue Q". Whenever he has a visit from IU alumni, he'll make sure that the school fight song is part of the mix. And one of the show's few rules is that anyone who sings a Sandy Patti song earns four free shot.

The After Party has been running for three years with no end in sight. Talent scouts and casting directors are regulat attendees. And newcomers are welcome, whether to watch or to perform (although first-timers may find themselves with a late, late slot). There's no cover and no minimum, which help make this, in my mind, the best entertainment bargain in the city.

Your thoughts?
ADVERTISEMENT
  • Can't wait to go to NYC for Brandon's After Party! He was a charming (on-stage, devilish off-stage) Courier in a local production of 1776 we did many years ago.
  • In the production of 1776 that Karen mentions, our beloved Michael Klass was playing John Adams (Michael passed away in 1997). Michael received a really good review, but Brandon had three paragraphs written about him. Michael's nose was out of joint just a bit.

    As I mentioned to you a couple of weeks ago, I have been to the After Party. Ray Feldman often accompanies on the piano and is also from Indiana. He is a fabulous pianist. The night we were there, we were celebrating a friend's birthday. Although Su Ours was also with us, she did not sing that evening. But my daughter, Jennifer, who lives in Chicago did get up and sing When You're Good To Mama from Chicago.

    Odd side note: If you went to the restrooms, what did you think of the way the water faucets flowed?
  • Janet,
    Didn't make it to the rest room. Sorry I missed it.
    Lou
  • Just caught up on the blog, Lou. The night I went to After Party, Brandon wasn't there! Can't wait to get back and see/meet him. It was still fun - and, of course, I got up and sang Pour Me A Man from MISS GULCH RETURNS. Turns out there are (or were) lots of fellow Ball State alum working there and in the restaurant upstairs!

    On another note, wasn't Liz Calloway fantastic! BABY was the first show I ever music directed (at BSU) and hearing her sing The Story Goes On was almost too much!

Post a comment to this blog

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT
  1. In reality, Lilly is maintaining profit by cutting costs such as Indiana/US citizen IT workers by a significant amount with their Tata Indian consulting connection, increasing Indian H1B's at Lillys Indiana locations significantly and offshoring to India high paying Indiana jobs to cut costs and increase profit at the expense of U.S. workers.

  2. I think perhaps there is legal precedence here in that the laws were intended for family farms, not pig processing plants on a huge scale. There has to be a way to squash this judges judgment and overrule her dumb judgement. Perhaps she should be required to live in one of those neighbors houses for a month next to the farm to see how she likes it. She is there to protect the people, not the corporations.

  3. http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/engineer/facts/03-111.htm Corporate farms are not farms, they are indeed factories on a huge scale. The amount of waste and unhealthy smells are environmentally unsafe. If they want to do this, they should be forced to buy a boundary around their farm at a premium price to the homeowners and landowners that have to eat, sleep, and live in a cesspool of pig smells. Imagine living in a house that smells like a restroom all the time. Does the state really believe they should take the side of these corporate farms and not protect Indiana citizens. Perhaps justifiable they should force all the management of the farms to live on the farm itself and not live probably far away from there. Would be interesting to investigate the housing locations of those working at and managing the corporate farms.

  4. downtown in the same area as O'malia's. 350 E New York. Not sure that another one could survive. I agree a Target is needed d'town. Downtown Philly even had a 3 story Kmart for its downtown residents.

  5. Indy-area residents... most of you have no idea how AMAZING Aurelio's is. South of Chicago was a cool pizza place... but it pales in comparison to the heavenly thin crust Aurelio's pizza. Their deep dish is pretty good too. My waistline is expanding just thinking about this!

ADVERTISEMENT