Back in 1996, Scott Miller and New Line Theatre created OUT ON BROADWAY: a musical review of songs performed from the views of five gay men. The show played for two sold-out runs that year, and a second version was birthed in March of 2000 called, OUT ON BROADWAY 2000. Seventeen years later, OUT ON BROADWAY: THE THIRD COMING is now playing at New Line through August 19. The show features returning cast-member Keith Thompson, as well as Mike Dowdy-Windsor, Ken Haller, Sean Michael, and Dominic Dowdy-Windsor.
Think of the concept as something similar to Mamma Mia!, where the story is told through well-known, memorable songs. Yet in this case, New Line isn’t limited to one band or show. And all of the characters speak through the lyrics, rather than dialogue. This new OOB consists of thirty-one numbers, from twenty-seven musicals, and also includes a song from Fred Small (“Everything Possible”) and a brand new song from Jason Robert Brown (Songs For a New World, Parade) called “Hope” – which opens the show.
The terrific sampling of musical numbers is accomplished by only the five actors, no microphones, and a piano – played masterfully by musical director Nate Jackson. All of the leads are wonderful as they go through their solos and ensembles. Thompson opens the show with the newest number, “Hope,” which sets the tone for the show to come.
It was great to see Mike Dowdy-Windsor perform, since in recent seasons he has taken on directing duties alongside Scott Miller, as well as on his own. He performs several songs alongside his real-life husband Nick, which are fun to watch as a part of the story. The standout certainly has to be “Getting Married Today” from Company, where Mike gives an impressive, and extremely entertaining performance, as he lists the reasons why he’s not “getting married today.”
Speaking of Nick, Dominic Dowdy-Windsor has an amazing voice himself. Songs like “Not My Father’s Son” (Kinky Boots) and “Stars and the Moon” (Songs for a New World) show off his raw vocal talents during his heartfelt performances. The first time I watched the actor perform was during his New Line debut in Zorba earlier this season, and I can’t wait to see more from him in Anything Goes and Yeast Nation next year.
I was very excited to see a song from Hamilton end up in the show, and the perfect selection was “You’ll Be Back,” performed by Sean Michael. The actor, who performed in New Line’s previous show (The Sweet Smell of Success, which I absolutely adored), does a terrific job with the number. The way it was fitted into the love story was hilarious, and oh so clever. His performance is among my favorites from the evening.
Ken Haller returns to New Line after his performances in Hair (2000) and A New Brain (2002). The actor performs “Married” (Cabaret) and “Just Like Our Parents” (The Ballad of Little Mikey) back to back, and is nothing less than great in the role. One of my favorite selections features him alongside Thompson during “Bosom Buddies” (Mame).
Thompson (who was fantastic as Jerry in New Line’s production of Jerry Springer the Opera) is always charismatic, and has a voice that never ceases to please. His rendition of “A Trip to the Library” (She Loves Me) is brilliant, and “Happily Ever After” (Once Upon A Mattress) is so much fun.
Along with the talented cast, credit has to be given to Nate Jackson who performs without a break throughout the entire show. Playing from song to song, with so many different shows and types of music, Jackson never misses a beat. His playing was marvelous, and is no small part in the success of the evening.
Director Scott Miller has once again put together a show that transcends simply good music and talented performers. The most important takeaway is that love is universal, and no matter who the songs were written for – they all apply to people in love. Never does a number fail to work because of the casting – forget that they are all talented – but that they are all male. It doesn’t matter, and never does a song not feel right because it was originally performed between a man and a woman. And that is a perfect example of how love works between all people. The humanity of the show shines throughout, and it is a wonderful evening of musical theater for all to enjoy.
All Photos Credit: Jill Ritter Lindberg