Photo Credit: Unknown

Bruno Giraldi
This is Bruno
Don’t Tell Mama
Dec  4, 2019, 7PM

Being completely honest here, based on the first 10 minutes, this show got off to a rocky start. But I have to admit, that Bruno Giraldi (not necessarily the show) grew on me.

Giraldi is a quirky, lanky, funny and intense man with a decent voice and a point of view that became very interesting to me as the show progressed. His vocals go from really good to pitchy here and there when he sometimes presses his voice and, how fast he speaks. English is his 2nd language and consequently, he’s a bit difficult to understand. He hit the stage with such enthusiasm and joy that he lit up the room. Being new to Cabaret, he has a lot to learn and with more stage time and trusting his team, the wonderful Sorin “Soso” Frisan as his Musical Director and, new to his team, Director Tanya Moberly, he’s in good hands and, I am sure, will grow in his craft.

His confidence and fearlessness give him great potential. His “rants” are epic and funny and sometimes profound, political and angry. When he talks about what he believes is the “American Dream” and his love of performing, it reminds us of what we take for granted. Seeing it through Mr. Giraldi’s eyes is humbling. He also reminds us that these freedoms of expression and sexuality are not always as welcome in a place like his homeland, Argentina.

I was told that this version of the show was somewhat calmed down so I can only imagine what it was before Ms. Moberly took the reins! For the sake of full disclosure, Cabaret Hotspot! had reviewed the previous version of this show and decided not to publish our review in favor of giving Mr. Giraldi time to work on his art. Now, however, with this being his 5th performance of this show, it is time for some constructive criticism, as he continues in Cabaret.

The biggest issue with the show was the opening. When one is presenting themselves for the first time, first impressions matter. Mr. Giraldi’s first impression was of his back-up singer singing “Can You Feel the Love Tonight?” (John/Rice from The Lion King, 1994). This introduction of the star to stage could have worked for a seasoned pro who has a team that everyone knows but when we don’t know the singer, it would have better to have had the actual star open the show, to make his/her own first impression.

Add to this, the back-up singer was really off-pitch and while very pretty and sincere, she was also extremely distracting in her stage presence. This did not introduce Mr. Giraldi to the stage in a way that was exciting. In fact, it had this reviewer asking the question, “Why would anyone want to start their show like this?” According to sources close to the show, this beginning was a vestige of a previous show and was “non-negotiable” for Mr. Giraldi. That is regrettable. Loving your friends and wanting them to sing with you is one thing, but never at the expense of the overall product or production. I believe Mr. Giraldi could be enough (with more work and editing) if he would trust his team and talent more. His team has a lot to work with. He’s charming, funny, nice and very comfortable on stage. He seems to love entertaining. He does have some connection to his lyrics, but a lot more work is needed in this area.

His reference to Bette Midler in Hocus Pocus being his muse after seeing her sing “I Put A Spell on You” (“Screamin” Jay Hawkins) was funny, but it also indicated what he’d like to strive toward. Hopefully his team will help him understand the concept of “tongue in cheek” humor, mixed with political satire. His personality could pull that off. His ballads were pretty deeply placed and sincere, but again, he needs to dig deeper and then find a way to segue with patter that’s not so abrupt from one “moment” to the next rant or a completely different moment. The script was choppy (or he ad-libbed a lot) so the flow was somewhat disjointed.

Ending with the very popular song “This is Me” (Pasek/Paul from The Greatest Showman) I left the room thinking, “No, not all of this IS you but I would come back to see what you discover on this new Cabaret adventure!”