Written by Elizabeth Ann Foster

The characters in the play [title of show] admit they never watch the shows they have opinions about. I decided to watch [title of show] from an archival recording so that The [title of show] show Vineyard Theatre Virtual Variety Show would have more meaning. Glad to report back that seeing the original show was not a prerequisite to join in the fun, but it does lend more meaning to the skits. View the Off-Broadway show here and the read the review by Tulis McCall editor and publisher of Front Row Center here.

This was Vineyard Theatre’s fundraiser promise – if the theater reached the goal of $100,000 they would put on a one-night variety show. They exceeded their goal and the show went on. Hunter Bell certainly put the “fun” into fundraising.

The variety show starts out, as did the play, with Bell and Jeff Bowen recreating the cell phone scenes except while bird watching in Central Park during the COVID-19 crisis. You get to see the cast and the varying scenes in the actors’ homes. This adds to the overall variety.  Heidi Blickenstaff’s rendition of “How deep are your roots” to the tune of “How deep is your love” by the Bee Gees was a highlight, pun intended.

Scenes included “what smells good” where each guest had the opportunity to showcase what they thought smelled good. Diverse smells from a closed bottle of wine to rosewater where presented in ingenious ways. Susan Blackwell led a pandemic meditation that ended in primordial screaming. Brooke Shields invited viewers on a virtual intimate date which included a foot rub and wine. The Lopez Family Singers sang a version of The Beach Boys “I Get Around” using round cake pans rendering their version pure hysterics. What else is a family to do after 3 months of staying at home?

“Show us your pet” segment highlighted the artists’ pets. A couple of tricks were showcased. This proved a pet does not have to be naturally gifted to have an actor as their human in their life. A segment called “Diva Interrupted” literally cut off singers mid-note and flashed to the next diva.

Spoiler alert – Mindy steals the show with singer Cheyenne Jackson in a duet that only a puppet could pull off.

The post special episode of “The VT Show” scheduled for Tuesday 6/2 at 5 pm is postponed. This was an opportunity to ask questions of the creative team behind the variety show live. When rescheduled and if The [title of show] show Vineyard Theatre Virtual Variety Show tickets are made available again we will let you know.

The [title of show] show Vineyard Theatre Virtual Variety Show show – hosted by Hunter Bell, Susan Blackwell, Heidi Blickenstaff, Jeff Bowen. Directed by Michael Berresse.

With Special Guests – Courtney Balan, Laura Benanti, Jeff Blumenkrantz, David Cale, Victoria Clark, Billy Crudup, Micaela Diamond, Rachel Dratch, Barrett Foa, Ryan J. Haddad, Christopher J. Hanke, Benjamin Howes, Bill Irwin, Cheyenne Jackson, John Kander, Judy Kuhn,
Linda Lavin, The Lopez Family Singers (Lindsay Anderson, Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Annie Lopez, Bobby Lopez, and Katie Lopez), Rick Lyon, Bob Mackie, Audra McDonald, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Joe Morton, Julia Murney, Alex Newell, Leslie Odom, Jr., Kelli O’Hara, Steven Pasquale, Larry Pressgrove, Zachary Quinto, Nicolette Robinson, Nathan Salstone, Brooke Shields, Douglas Sills, Ryan Spahn, Phillipa Soo, Michael Urie.

Music Direction by Larry Pressgrove; Edited by Matt Vogel.

Vineyard Theatre 108 East 15th Street, New York, NY 10003. Saturday, May 30 at 8 pm only. Ticket donation minimum $35. Box Office boxoffice@vineyardtheatre.org. Runtime 1 hour 30 minutes.