Bobby in the Lobby, Tennessee Williams Theatre, Key West, FL
January 20 and 21st, Bobby Nesbitt brought his popular show, “Bobby In The Lobby”, back to the Tennessee Williams Theatre lobby. He started this series a number of years ago and now the cabaret series is a regular feature each year on the schedule of shows at the Tennessee Williams Theatre. The theatre has fashioned a top-notch performance space in the very large lobby, complete with a proscenium and an excellent sound and light system. It had been five years since Bobby did a “Lobby” show. Other popular Key West performers and out of town guests have kept the cabaret series going. People were so eager to see Bobby in this space again both performances were sold out well in advance.
For this particular show, he had two special guests who are crowd pleasers on their own: Carmen Rodrigues and Danny Weathers. Danny, until last year, was a long time Key West resident and Managing Artistic Director of the Waterfront Playhouse. He returned to Key West from his new home in Palm Springs to be in this show. Carmen is a regular performer at the Tavern N Town, and recently did her own solo show at the Waterfront Playhouse.
The show was a masterful evening of Cabaret. Bobby has an encyclopedic knowledge of musical theatre and entertained us with background stories to accompany each song. In some cases he told us about the composers and lyricists and at other times he gave a context for individual songs that heightened the dramatic or comic content of the songs.
The show was in two parts. The first half was a showcase for songs written by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart. Together the team wrote many songs that are now standards in the American Song Book. Many had particularly cleaver lyrics full of humor and innuendo. At the end of the Rodgers and Hart section, Bobby gave us an understanding of the tragically sad life of unreformed alcoholic, Larry Hart. He was a sad, lonely man who wrote poignant songs of love and loss. Once you understand his story you realize how Hart could write such personal and heart breaking lyrics.
The second section of the show featured music written by Jule Styne who worked with numerous lyricists during his career. Singing songs from Gypsy, Belle Are Ringing and Gentlemen Prefer Blonds just to mention a few, Bobby, Carmen and Danny displayed their personal connection to the stories within these famous songs. Because Jule Styne had so many hit songs to his credit, they finished this section with an extended medley.
Since I am new to Key West, this was my first time to see a “Bobby in the Lobby” show. After this wonderful evening of music, I understand why so many people were eager for Bobby to return to the Lobby.