I was lucky enough this last week-end to see David Burnham in cabaret at a venue called Hyde at Mammoth Mountain Ski Resort. It was a special event week-end and Mr. Burnham played one evening.
Mr. Burnham is a veteran Broadway actor and singer, having played in Light in the Piazza, Wicked, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat among others. At Hyde, he serenaded the audience with some stories, some jokes and some amazing singing.
Cabaret can be a challenge, particularly in a non-traditional venue. Although Hyde had a nice little stage, the set up was awkward. However, after Mr. Burnham took the stage, that hardly mattered. He brings a stagecraft that draws your attention and he has the serious pipes to keep your interest at all times. He would share an anecdote, usually about a show he was in or a casting disaster, then sing a song from the show or related to it. It is a time tested formula that never felt formulaic with him. He made the story feel fresh, and the audience like a group of friends that happened over to see him.
Mr. Burnham has a love of the theater and traditions that is contagious. He told a story of the famous John Raitt, a role model of his in many ways. Years later he played in the same theater that John Raitt played in Carousel, and was visited backstage by Mr. Raitt’s widow. It was a touching story that felt real and unforced.
Mr. Burnham was accompanied by a keyboardist who sang a few songs with him, an excellent Mark Vogel. In one of those cabaret moments, a Broadway friend, Jonathan, joined him for a cool as ice rendition of “Africa”. He also brought up a drag entertainer and they sang a medley of I Am Who I Am and Born This Way. It was a fitting, friendly, fun way to wrap up a tremendous evening.
You can find more out about David Burnham, including his album collection and upcoming appearances at www.DavidBurnham.com.