This review of Rohn Seykell at Eighty Eight's was written and published by Dr. Thomas Robert Stevens and appeared in Volume I, Issue 2 (December, 1997) of Applause! Applause!
Eighty Eight's (228 West 10th Street, NYC)
Rohn Seykell is celebrating his 10th Anniversary in Cabaret by performing in a series of concerts at Eighty Eight's to benefit the Life Enhancement Foundation. Seykell is Sensational! He is a great singer and an accomplished actor. Although not as accessible as other entertainers are outside the performing space, Rohn Seykell is nevertheless a friendly person who comes across as a warm hearted, spiritual human being. He deserves every success that will come his way!
As you watch him, you will find yourself transported to "Planet: Seykell", a place where for one hour, you can forget about your life here on Planet: Earth and can lose yourself in the extraordinary talent and charismatic personality of this great performer. The home run of the show was Rohn's rendition of "I Only Want To Say (Gethsemane)" from "Jesus Christ, Superstar". If this was the only song performed during the entire show, I don't think anyone would have demanded their money back.
Other numbers I really enjoyed were "Just In Time"; "Muddy Water" from "Big River"; "Les MiseROHNables" written by the brilliant comedian Rick Crom, who won a Leonardo daVinci Award for Best Comedian in 1996; "Anyone Can Whistle"; "Lean Baby", which allows Rohn to make innovative use of his "lean" microphone stand; and "Honeysuckle Rose", which we learned has been sung by Seykell more than any other song. We also learned from Rohn that "Honeysuckle Rose" is the favorite song of his musical director, Lenny Babbish, because it has the word "suck" in it.
Rohn Seykell also channeled Luvinia Johnson, a Broadway dresser to the stars, who gives us the dirt on some famous actors. We learned for example that "Rosie O'Donnell has more twinkies in her dressing room than does Elton John," and of the difficult personality of Lauren "Someone Dropped The House On My Sister" Bacall. Rohn repeats his often used phrase "just when you thought it couldn't get any queerer," just before he sings a song with Luvinia called "Billygoats and Bumblebees," written by Scott Warrender. Rohn also goes on to do a "right on the money" impersonation of Bette Davis singing, no less.
Rohn Seykell is exuberant, endearing and entertaining. Despite the fact that he has gained quite a few pounds during this past year, he is still as cute and lovable as he always has been. He is one of the greatest cabaret performers of the decade! His career should soar to heights only a select few have ever reached. I have just learned that his show has been extended, which gives you plenty of time to catch him. Rohn Seykell will appear at Eighty Eight's at 8:30 p.m. on Fridays in January (9th, 16th, 23rd & 30th), and will appear at 11 p.m. on Fridays in February. Call 212-924-0088 after 4 p.m. for reservations!!