Broadway, West End and TV heartthrob John Barrowman, whose voice is as toned as the rest of him, makes his New York City cabaret debut at Arci's Place, Feb. 20-March 2, singing Reflections From Broadway.
Expected in the new piano-bass-voice show, directed by Barry Kleinbort and written by Bruce Vilanch, are stories and songs from the life and career of the thirtysomething Scotland-born, American-raised Barrowman. He co-starred on Broadway in Putting It Together, the revue of songs by Stephen Sondheim, and in Sunset Blvd. opposite Betty Buckley. This summer at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, he'll play Bobby in Sondheim and George Furth's Company as part of the six-show Sondheim Celebration there. The show will be recorded for television, he said.
Why hasn't Barrowman done a cabaret show before?
"I'd never really thought about it," he told Playbill On-Line. "I've done concerts with symphonies in Europe and London and Scotland, but I've done those with 60, 70 piece orchestras. This will be the first time I'm doing it on such an intimate basis. I'm really looking forward to it, but I'm really scared! I find it nerve wracking, really: You don't have an ensemble behind you, you don't have sets. I'm not a character. I'm looking at it like I'm inviting people into my living room."
The act will not end with Arci's, he said. It's being developed with an eye toward resurrecting it from time to time and the show's songs and shape may change in the future. Barrowman said he'd love to take it to Metropolis, the Chicago-area venue not far from Joliet, IL, where he was raised. What's in the show?
"There are songs that people haven't heard me sing before," he said. "Things that relate to me and my heritage, and my family."
Barrowman said to expect Scottish songs, some Andrew Lloyd Webber, Stephen Sondheim's "Marry Me and Little" and "Being Alive" and more.
On TV, Barrowman starred in the nighttime soaps Titans and Central Park West. He played Joe Gillis in Sunset Boulevard opposite Betty Buckley in London and New York. In London, his roles have included Chris in Miss Saigon, Raoul in The Phantom of the Opera and Billy in Anything Goes, opposite Elaine Paige. He earned an Olivier Award nomination starring in the musical, The Fix.
Barrowman has been working on post-production for the adventure-thriller film, "Megalodon," about a hungry prehistoric shark, to be released later this year or early 2003.
Tickets for Reflections From Broadway (which is also the title of his recent album) are $30 with a $15 food/drink minimum. Arci's is at 450 Park Avenue between 30th and 31st streets. Shows play 8 PM Wednesday-Friday and 8:30 PM and 11 PM Saturday. Reservations are strongly suggested. Call (212) 532-4370.
— By Kenneth Jones