Thursday, October 1, 2015

Applause! Applause! Review of Andrew Carter Buck's Behind Blue Eyes at The Laurie Beechman Theatre by Dr. Thomas Robert Stevens

This review of Andrew Carter Buck's Behind Blue Eyes at The Laurie Beechman Theatre was written by Dr. Thomas Robert Stevens and published in Volume X, Issue 5 (2015) of the online edition of Applause! Applause!

Behind Blue Eyes
Starring Andrew Carter Buck
Musical Director & Pianist: Walter H. Thompson
Director & Script Supervisor: Kimberly Vaughn
The Laurie Beechman Theatre
407 West 42nd Street
New York, New York 10036
Reviewed 9/29/15  

Andrew Carter Buck's first solo cabaret show Behind Blue Eyes was a surprisingly professional and entertaining debut, which demonstrated his talent and was a huge hit with his supportive and enthusiastic audience. This blue-eyed boy graduated from the University of Central Arkansas (Conway) with a degree in Vocal Performance in 2005 and performed in some local musical productions. After realizing he was "a pretty big blue dot in a very red state," this Rackensacker moved to New York City armed with only a suitcase and a dream. Six years and four jobs later, he decided it was time, between auditions, to launch his own cabaret show, which was paid for, in part, by a Go Fund Me campaign that raised $3,130.00 from 32 people in one month. Now 33 years old and with his parents present, he told the general story of his life in New York from his occasional anxiety and depression to his posting a "missed connection" ad on Craig's List after he failed to speak to a guy he was attracted to on the subway. Most of the patter was used to introduce the various songs he sang as opposed to revealing anything intimate or insightful regarding his own personality. For example, he donned a red and black boa, spoke of his singing many numbers at Marie's Crisis and then sang "Cabaret" describing it as the unofficial anthem of that West Village institution. 

Two original songs, written by Andrew Carter Buck, were introduced. "Winter's Rain" spoke about friends of his who "took their final bows" and "Agnostic's Prayer" reflects his desire to commit to something greater even though he is "not religious." Mr. Buck has a very strong voice and a commanding stage presence. He was casually dressed in blue jeans and a purple shirt with his hair combed straight and parted down the middle. At least four dozen red roses stood in a vase set upon the piano. He enunciated the lyrics to all his songs and added a dramatic dimension to those that benefited from it. I particularly enjoyed "Use What You Got," "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face," "Say Something," "Almost There,", "Taking The Wheel," "I Am What I Am," and Seasons Of Love." However, "Travelin' Thru," "NYC," "Another Hundred People," "Up On The Roof," and "Cabaret" were also quite enjoyable. Behind Blue Eyes was a huge success! With it, Andrew Carter Buck has hit a home run! He is an extremely talented young man who was able to present to us a small sample of what he has to offer. 

For his next show, I would suggest he dress up a bit more professionally, have his hair styled and tell a few more humorous anecdotes and some intimate details about his life experiences. After the show was over, I did not feel I knew anything more regarding the kind of person Andrew Carter Buck is. If you asked me how he might respond if petted, I could not tell whether he would purr or scratch your eyes out. A cabaret show is not a play or a one-man show. In those, we are not expected to learn anything personal about the actor but in an intimate cabaret setting, especially if it is the singer's first show, I expect to learn something about the performer in addition to whether or not he or she has talent. Luckily, in this case, we got a glimpse of this man's huge potential. Behind Blue Eyes gave attendees more than their money's worth of entertainment. I also expect future shows will be even better given Andrew Carter Buck's stated philosophical belief that "Life is a metamorphosis. We learn. We change. We grow." At the end of the show, he revealed he now realizes he is exactly where he needs to be, which is NYC, and The Natural State's loss is our gain!

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