From Bar Stools to Box Seats: Kiki & Herb Follow Alive on Broadway with Tony Nom

Tony Awards   From Bar Stools to Box Seats: Kiki & Herb Follow Alive on Broadway with Tony Nom So what did the cabaret duo think of taking their act to Broadway? "I thought it sounded like an awful lot of work," quipped Justin Bond — whose alter ego is the septuagenarian songstress of the Tony Award-nominated Kiki & Herb Alive on Broadway.
Kenny Mellman as Herb and Justin Bond as Kiki in Kiki & Herb Alive on Broadway.
Kenny Mellman as Herb and Justin Bond as Kiki in Kiki & Herb Alive on Broadway. Photo by Carol Rosegg

Kenny Mellman — who plays the ivory-tickling half of the duo — added, "And it was, but worth it." Bond revealed their thought process: "What else was there? We did Carnegie Hall, we did Off-Broadway, so the next logical step seemed to be Broadway. It was our producers who actually had the idea."

For the twosome — who have teamed for years as their kooky (older) counterparts — there was a big difference jumping from their usual haunts (where a "two-drink minimum" is more commonplace) to the Great White Way.

"It is amazing because we do our shows in a club and we do it ourselves and basically have a bartender," explained Mellman. "On Broadway, we had an amazing stage manager, an amazing team of producers, designers, house managers and everything. So, I have to say it was kind of a breeze because we usually do all of that ourselves."

Bond concurred. "It was much easier than playing bars because the staff is there to support you — their whole focus is to make the show as good as possible, so everybody can keep working. When you're playing in nightclubs and bars, they don't care, they just want to sell drinks."

Mellman quickly noted: "We have played some nice places." Kiki & Herb fans, familiar with the duo's repertoire of song covers, may be surprised to learn that some tunes are more fun for them to perform than others. "For years, and I've sung it even though I never enjoyed singing it, 'Rainbow Connection' — I love the song, [but] I hate singing it," revealed Bond.

"The song I never get tired of singing is 'Exit Music (for a Film)' by Radiohead." Mellman agreed, but also said, "I enjoy 'Rainbow Connection" a lot more than you."

Bond mockingly accused, "You're the one who's always saying, 'Gotta do 'Rainbow Connection'!'" The ever-diplomatic Mellman concluded, "I think it's more fun to play than it is to sing."