Orient proved to be the rejuvenating oasis of my dreams. There was no shortage of rolling waters, crisp breezes, ample slices of lemon pie and unforgettable musical moments. The bright toned yippings of dogs were accompanied by rehearsals overflowing with not only beauty but unending laughter. Much of that laughter came from the antics and theatrical genius of the one and only Johnathan McCullough. Innovative in every piece, Johnathan went above and beyond to induce tear jerking laughter in Kahane’s Craigslistlieder selection “Opera Scene” – proclaiming the splendor of his available three story walk up apartment, all utilities included for only $550. We soon learn why the price is so low.
I think every New Yorker, especially those of us cautiously traversing this new age of Gypsy Housing, Tinder dating and LinkedIn job offers, can appreciate the unfiltered, at times sensual, honesty of this East Village weirdo. Confessing that he has a compulsion to put ice cubes down people’s shirts (a problem the new roommate will have to bear the brunt of) no catfishing is to be found here. Ignoring musical boundaries, we are seamlessly pulled through six genre bending sections, influenced by the likes of Purcell, Stravinsky, and contemporary musical theatre. One moment a simple suspended recite supplies us the nitty gritty details of the rental, the next second offers a broad arioso akin to “No Word From Tom”, flushing out the characters inner arctic induced ecstasy. A particularly delightful moment comes in the delicate falsettos as the character reveals that he always keeps ice to use on hand, and the audience can feel the tingling dribble of a hexahedron melting in ones palm with each phrase. As the summer comes to a close but the lingering city heat weighs upon our shoulders, I think back to Johnathan crooning “I may come up to you and put an ice cube down your shirt” and guiltily wish I had my own temporary Craigslist creep to do the same…
Andrew Garland sings “Opera Scene” from Craigslistlieder by Gabriel Kahane
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