It’s freezin’ outside. . . hence the time many of us travel to warmer climates, or at the very least, fantasize about an exotic locale on a beach or under the stars. The Calendar Girl, Colleen McHugh, takes us on that journey from sandy Havana to Mexico, Shanghai and beyond in her show, “Wish You Were Here.” She even includes Mackinaw Island, which she compares to Bermuda in Michigan. Her once monthly show at the Duplex in NYC is constantly changing. Her January offering was the best of her travel song repertoire — “Mackinaw,” “Shanghai,” “Red Sails in the Sunset,” “When Will You Come Back To Me?”
McHugh’s resort collection transports the audience from the West Village to a fantasy escape. The theme, which resounds for many of us, is about a planned vacation with a significant other who cancels. Do I go alone? She does but can’t help but wish he was there.
Tedd Firth, her musical conductor, not only plays keyboard but duets with McHugh as well. They did a meticulous job with Irving Berlin’s “I’ll See You In Cuba,” Sean Harkness on guitar and Steve Doyle on bass – dressed in colorful patterned shirts a la Caribbean– were terrific backup for this fun and lively show.
The clever performer who cut her teeth at Chicago’s Second City does best with the slower ballads and improv when she can be sassy and exaggerate the humor. She skillfully combined “South of the Border” and “Monterrey” and named it “The Mexicombo.” Closing the show with a Spanish/Latin flavor and even passing out maracas, she connects with the audience to such a degree that it didn’t take much effort to encourage everyone’s participation.
Have PoliticalMavens.com delivered to your inbox in a daily digest by clicking here