Rob Langeder: Broadway Revival - The Hideaway Room @ Helen's

12 Best of Cabaret
Published: January 5, 2007

Almost lost in an intimate room, this theater-rooted actor/singer, with a strong flare for drama, offered one of the year's most exciting and ambitious shows skillfully directed by fellow singer Miles Phillips. It was all there; from Leonard Bernstein to Stephen Sondheim, in an hour that was as intense as it was fun performed by a major talent who made cabaret richer by his presence and a mesmerizing tenor voice.*

*Webmaster's Note: Other honorees include Klea Blackhurst & Billy Stritch, Keith David, Mary Bond Davis, Dimitri, Jenna Esposito, Leslie Kritzer, Douglas Ladnier, Amanda McBroom, Colm Reilly, Lillias White and Kristine Zborbnik

Cabaret Scenes
Published: November 03, 2006

For those who like gospel, communion with others, have any spirituality, or just enjoy a good cabaret show, Rob Langeder's Broadway Revival, using songs from Broadway musicals, touched all the bases. The sources were as varied as Porgy and Bess and The Color Purple, to Anything Goes and Hair. Gospel, country, reggae, ballad, you name it. Langeder is good-looking and has an appealing voice, with a wide range that he takes comfortably into higher registers, several times going into falsetto. In his evangelist guise, he was magnetic.

A good deal of the show's zeal came from Langeder's helpmates, Miles Phillips, Alisa Schiff and Jackie Fortenale on vocals, with some additional vocalizing by Tracy Stark, the show's musical director. When the whole cast shared a number, with the piano, bass and drums accenting the heavy rhythm, Helen's Hideaway Room rocked. The show was directed with style and panache by Miles Phillips.

A 'Broadway Revival' in Cabaret
Published: November 02, 2006

He'll make you a believer. Baring his theatrical soul and making waves in an exciting cabaret debut, musical theater singer/actor Rob Langeder makes a joyful noise belting an hour of demanding Broadway show-stoppers with brio in his exciting show, Broadway Revival at the Hideaway Room @ Helen's where it returns Nov. 3 and 4.

Resurrecting some powerhouse show-stoppers, Langeder sails in and out of character through an eclectic hour that included a jazz hot arrangement of "It Ain't Necessarily So," from Porgy and Bess (G. Gershwin-Heywood-I. Gershwin,) fused with the Bob Marley's anthem, "Get Up, Stand Up." With a commanding tenor, the show, skillfully directed by Miles Phillips with musical director/arranger Tracy Stark anchoring band duties, Langeder refreshingly eschews mundane patter about his life and beginnings. Such stories often accompany a newcomer's show in a small venue. Other than some brief references to discovering his father's record collection as a child and some college influences that altered his life, Langeder presents these songs basically in character and with a sincere commitment to being in the moment (something more seasoned performers might want to note.) The results are one of the best evenings of musical theater around in a cabaret setting worthy of "must see" status. Ultimately, the show is a delight for musical theater buffs of any age.

With so many show-stoppers and highlights, it's hard to single out one moment that was better than the others. However, in this observer's opinion, there were several moments to savor. Particular standouts included a riveting "Lost in the Stars" (Weill-Anderson.) While singing the song as it was written to be sung in the context of the show of the same name, Langeder brought a gentle delivery without compromising the natural theatrics of one of musical theater's evergreens. Too, on "Someone to Watch Over Me", from Oh, Kay! by the Gershwins, he sat on a stool and, in a rare moment of subtlety, reinvented the concept of this famous love song as he turned the lyrics into a primal, prayer-like plea to a higher power. Turning this usually languid love song into an over the top, dramatic musical monologue, without changing the pronouns - or the effects of the simple words, was electrifying. While very theatrical here, the effect was deeply persuasive.

As a cabaret debut, Rob Langeder scored mightily across the board with this impersonal, blatantly theatrical and thoroughly entertaining show with all these demanding song selections. Tracy Stark did an outstanding job on equally demanding arrangements and conducting the wonderful band and back-up singers Alisa Schiff and Jackie Fornatale.

Hopefully, this show will return and find the audience it deserves. Go!

By ROY SANDER - critic and columnist

As a heathen, I face any show that has even a quasi-religious theme with more than a bit of trepidation. In the case of Broadway Revival, I needn't have feared. The spirituality at the center of the evening is more of the human than the mystical variety, and the show is beautifully constructed and performed, with smashing musical arrangements. What's more, there's plenty of show-biz savvy on display to make this not only a strong piece of work, but also a very entertaining one.

Monthly "Cabaret Catch-Up" Feature

Say a prayer that all cabaret shows could be this joyful and consistently entertaining. With bright eyes, a bright voice, and bright ideas for material, Rob Langeder's debut diving into the cabaret waters makes for a splash. Hallelujah!