Sam Carner & Derek Gregor

Carner & Gregor's Barely Legal
Show-Tune Extravaganza

54 Below
New York, NY
Songwriters Sam Carner and Derek Gregor have a feel for contemporary life in New York City—in their lingo, “the Island.” Their Barely Legal Show-Tune Extravaganza was subtitled “An Undergraduate Cabaret” and, indeed, most of the participants still attend college. The songs explored angst, big city blues and the minutiae of 20-something lives.

Morissa Trunzo opened with “I’ll Take It All,” a backhanded tribute to living on “the Island,” her solid pop voice making the most of the lyric. Tiffany Ames, a belter, tailored her voice to the ruminative “After Hours,” while the sweet-faced Mia Fitzgibbon hilariously described the “CBT” (crazy black tranny) she encountered on the subway, the one who stole her wallet! Nat Zegree and Eric Michael Krop were a gay couple giving romantic advice to a woman in “Put the Man in Romance.”

Although hostess Natalie Weiss was sometimes inappropriate, all was forgiven when she sang, “A Piece of Me” and “So Far From Pennsylvania,” the former about a woman who is careful about love and the latter Carner & Gregor’s sad version of “Ohio” (Bernstein/Comden & Green).

The funniest moment was a ditty called “What Do You Do with Your Arms” sung by a Brit, Lydia Hall, who not only sang beautifully, but used her body language to get the song across.

Although all the singers were promising, too many shared bad habits: screeching high notes and going for effect rather than inhabiting the lyrics, not helped by a TV-primed audience which hooted at every held and embroidered note.

Gregor on piano led Emily Brausa (cello), Jerry Devore (bass), Christopher Gilroy (electronic music), Marshall Robbins (guitar) and Joshua Samuels (drums). The singers not noted above were: Kayla Eilers, Daina Goldenberg, Kyle Segarra, Emily Schultheis, Zachary Stewart, Hannah Zazzaro and Danielle Wade, all promising talents.

Joel Benjamin
Cabaret Scenes
August 21, 2014