Brian Baez unlocked a wave of emotions from a sold out RTP crowd
Who needs Lorde when Richmond’s very own Queen “B” can give his audience the Royals treatment?
Brian Baez captivated a sold out crowd with God Save the Queen: Putting on the Pumps of the UK’s Sassiest Singers his one-night cabaret tribute to the ladies and queens of Britain’s pop-rock royalty.
As an aside, he really did think that Lorde was British when he chose his opening number.
From Amy Winehouse and Adele to Elton John and Queen, Baez takes on the best torch songs and ballads from the UK. From his just-tight-enough jeans and killer boots (and one number in some great pumps) to his bedazzled blazer, Baez oozed sex appeal.
A consummate performer, Baez’s high notes would make Adele proud, and his charming stories, smoking dance moves, and moments of poignant self-revelation, had the audience clapping to the beat, laughing out loud, and occasionally a little misty-eyed.
There were light moments – Baez reading the lyrics to George Michael’s Faith on his iPhone after a few flubbed lines on a song or two. There were heavy moments; Baez learned that his idol Amy Winehouse had died just moments after being cut from American Idol. He had just sung Rehab.
And there were take-your-breath-away moments. When bass player Pete Dennis strummed the familiar introduction to Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody, Baez soulfully singing “Mama, just killed a man. . .” it definitely sent “shivers down my spine.” You could hear the audience’s collective sigh of pleasure. Baez is charming, funny, sweet, sexy (did I mention that?) and boy does he have chops.
Dennis joined a group of talented solo musicians who blended well together as Baez’s backup band: Ben Miller on piano and musical direction, Bryan Connolly on drums, and Joe Barry on guitar. And every Queen B needs worthy backup singers. Chloe Williams and Kim Knight were perfection. While Baez took a quick break, they performed Emeli Sande’s Next To Me. Wow!
Brian Baez is a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University’s Music and Theatre programs. He has sung and danced locally at Busch Gardens and Kings’ Dominion, and after graduation set out on a tour of over 35 countries as the Lead Singer/Dancer for Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines. Baez was also hand-selected by Grammy-nominee Jim Brickman to perform with him in concert as his featured vocalist in 2008.
It is no secret that I’m a big fan of Richmond Triangle Players. RTP’s commitment to “celebrating and advocating diversity through creative endeavors” is a real gift to the community. From glorious stage productions of “Cabaret” and powerful, thought-provoking plays in the Acts of Faith series to proudly displaying new local talent, like Baez, RTP does what theater is supposed to: entertain, enlighten, inspire, and gather a community of diversity.
RTP, I request an encore. Please bring back the Queen B.
One of my favorite moments of the show came when Baez revealed that he and his partner have a “celebrity list:” a chosen few individuals for whom they’d get a “cheat pass” from their significant other. Baez included Jude Law, and a few others on his list. Well, Baez is on my “celebrity list.” Even though he doesn’t play that way. It’s the curse of the girl fag.
Although this was a one-night only performance, you can still see Baez (as Miss Bible Belt) and the rest of the talented cast of Pageant through August 30th at Richmond Triangle Players on 1300 Altamont Avenue. For information please email rtriangle.org or call (804) 346-8113.
lie Harthill Clayton is an out and proud bisexual with a passion for reading, writing . . . and NOT arithmetic. She’s the proud mom of two young adult men and is slowly adjusting to having them both away at college. Her work has appeared in the Christian Science Monitor, the Internet Review of Books, Curve Magazine, Lambda Literary and more. She is the newest member of the Richmond Theatre Critics Circle. A paralegal by day, Julie spends her free time knitting, writing, and reading anything she can get her hands on. She lives in Richmond with her partner, local artist David Turner, and their mischievous and loving hunting dog, Max.
“The play is about being true to your authentic self but it’s also about being vigilant in maintaining your rights. It wasn’t very long ago that the world was a very different place.”September 27, 2016
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