Dr. Bradley Jones presented Fabulous Functional Narcissism @ Don’t Tell Mama, Sept. 16, 7:oopm
Psychology and Theater have long been “kissing cousins.” However, in Dr. Bradley Jones’ show, directed by KT Sullivan, with Music Direction by Mike Pettry, this relationship blossoms into a passionate honeymoon of exploration and discovery. As both a veteran of Broadway (Chorus Line) and, now, a real doctor of Psychology, Jones used every skill at his disposal, including a soft shoe routine, to both entertain, and enlighten his audience.
Cutting a very dapper figure, in blazer and bow tie, Jones entered with Musn’t Kick It Around (R. Rodgers, L. Hart), which segued seamlessly into patter (underscored with Where is Love from Oliver), where he recounted his early childhood obsession with music theater, and a not-so-latent desire to kill the boy playing Oliver, and take his place.
From here, the show took a fascinating turn. For, while I was certain I was seeing a biographical show, Dr. Bradley wielded his psychological prowess like a surgeon’s scalpel, with the exquisite timing of a Borscht-Belt comic.
With Songs like Gotta Have Me Go With You (H. Arlen, I. Gershwin), and Very Soft Shoes (M. Rodgers, M. Barer), we got a glimpse of a young boy longing for a distant father’s attention. And, Have You Met Miss Jones (R. Rodgers, L. Hart), introduced us to a delightful, yet somewhat overbearing, (and self-medicated), mother, which all but guaranteed a life in Musical Theater would follow – “It’s hard keeping up with the Jones’… when you ARE the Jones’!”
Each song in Jones’ show took us on a specific part of his journey. And, in a keen directorial move, as psychological layers were peeled away, so too was clothing. Stripped down to a black tank top, Jones revealed more than just impressive biceps. His days on tour, and on Broadway, with A Chorus Line, his decline into (and recovery from) drug addiction, his meeting and marriage to husband John, and his now successful practice as a Clinical Psychologist, were all showcased, and all sung with a very pleasing voice, backed up by top-notch musicians, Jacob Silver (Bass), Alden Banton (Reeds), and Zachary Kempler (Drums).
But, what makes this show stand out is it’s craft. Well scripted, in a way that blends real psychological terminology, with a comic flair and erudite wit that was “laugh-out-loud” funny. And, through his charming delivery, Jones teaches us not only about Psychology, and his checkered past, but also, possibly, a little bit about ourselves as well.
Of particular note was a beautiful pairing of Loving You and Sorry Grateful (S. Sondheim), hauntingly arranged by Pettry, and sung to husband John, in the kind of still, quiet, and focused moment that only years of training, in both acting and psychology, could accomplish.
Be sure to see Bradley Jones, the next time the doctor is in, October 31st at Don’t Tell Mama. TICKETS