L.A.’s brightest musical theater stars square off once a month, not in the boxing ring, but in the next best thing to it, at Rockwell Table & Stage in trendy Los Feliz for Justin Jones’ and Bruce Merkle’s Broadway Cage Match.

DSC01614 The format is as follows: A trio of performers from two currently playing big-stage musicals pair up to see who can score the loudest audience applause. The three semi-finalists are then whittled down to two, of whom only one will stand victorious at the evening’s explosive close.

DSC01619 Competing in February’s Cage Match were Neil Dale, Rachel Davis, Zachary Hess from McCoy Rigby Entertainments’ Billy Elliott The Musical and Donna Louden, Julie Morgentaler, and Amber J. Snead from 3-D Theatricals’ Seussical The Musical.

DSC01647 Much of the excitement of each month’s Broadway Cage Match is in discovering which genre each performer will opt for. Davis, Morgentaler, and Snead picked comedy (with great big vocals to match), Hess and Louden went for sensationally performed blue-eyed soul, while Dale showed off his West End-honed legit chops—and each and every one proved absolutely fabulous in the spotlight.

DSC01673 In addition to their solo showcases, each duo gets a second chance to dazzle and delight, one pair by how much faster, funnier, and louder they each can sing than the other, a second by showing off special “talents” that have found their way onto padded résumés (a list supplied by casting director Michael Donovan, CSA, that includes juggling, pole-dancing, cheerleading, and more), and the third by singing “in the style of” one famed Broadway or pop vocalist after another after another.

DSC01658 And when the evening is over, only one Cage Match contestant will remain standing—in this case, Billy Elliot’s Dale over Seussical’s Louden, though truth be told, either could easily have worn the victor’s crown.

DSC01666 Adding to the evening’s fun at the most recent Broadway Cage Match was a child-against-“child” one-on-one pitting Seussical’s phenomenally talented young Grant Westcott against Billy Elliot’s equally gifted “Mitchell Tobin.”

DSC01670 (The quotation marks are by way of suggesting that the performer audience members saw in Billy Elliot boxing gear just might have been recent Cage Match winner Anne Montavon in boy drag.)

DSC01628 With Brian P. Kennedy providing his always outstanding musical direction and piano accompaniment, each month’s slate of competitors (and special guests) are sure to be in gifted hands indeed.

DSC01660 Kudos to the triple-threat-tastic Jones and Merkle for not only brightening L.A.’s thriving cabaret scene, but for showcasing two must-see shows each month. Billy Elliot may have just played its last performance, but there are still two weeks to catch Seussical in Redondo Beach.

What better way could there be to spend a Monday evening than at Rockwell Table & Stage, that is when it’s a Broadway Cage Match Monday. With the best of SoCal musical theater talent on display, Broadway Cage Match is unmatched for TKOutrageous fun.

follow on twitter small

Rockwell Table & Stage, 1714 N. Vermont, Los Angeles.

–Steven Stanley
February 23, 2015

Tags: ,

Comments are closed.