By William Wolf

ON KENTUCKY AVENUE: THE CLUB HARLEM REVUE  Send This Review to a Friend

In Atlantic City during the days before gambling took a firm hold, there was a favorite venue called Club Harlem amid the nightspots on Kentucky Avenue that thrived during the summers. Recalling the era and the aura, “On Kentucky Avenue: The Club Harlem Revue” has been created by Jeree Wade to recapture the style of such shows, which included singers, dancers, showgirls and comics. Loaded with talent, it was given limited performances between February 2-16, 2016 in a nightclub setting at The Triad in Manhattan, with the intention of it being further developed into major bookings. I caught the final show and found that it has the oomph to become successful.

The show is primarily a revue, with little book--one that could be done without altogether. It is the effervescent, revue-formatted display of talent that makes the production. Ty Stephens made a dynamic MC and singer, with Cheryl Freeman and Andricka Hall tops in the vocal department. Jeree White was also spotlighted as a guest star performing as Damitia Jo.

The contingent of dancers—the women attractive, shapely and with great body language, the men good looking and very agile—included Adam Bourque, Donna Clark, Brian Davis, Gregory J. Hanks, Mindy Harwood, Cassandra Palacio and Renee Ternier. Costumes were varied and colorful, reflecting the effort that has gone into the production.

Shows like this usually had a comic, and talented, very funny Lee Summers filled the bill as affable Slappy Black, with a repertoire of corny vaudeville-style jokes that he delivered with expert timing and to much laughter.

The production combined original music with established favorite songs. An excellent orchestra provided strong backing, the members including Frank Owens at the piano, Wilbur Bascomb-Odell Craft, bass; Damon Duewhite, drums, and Richard Cummings, Jr., synthesizer.

The musical, directed by Adam Wade and choreographed by Ty Stephens, was presented by Robert R. Blume, Songbirds Unlimited Productions, Peter Martin/Rick Newman, in association with JR Knauf, Marshall N. Warner, Marya Coburn and Cobi Narita. At the Triad, 158 West 72nd Street, Reviewed February 17, 2014.

  

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