Scott and the City: Party (Not) in the U.S.A

jordan bell, scott freethy, kylee evans
For Toronto-based musical theatre actor/singer/songwriter Scott Freethy 2009 was one prolonged kick in the ass. Providentially, Freethy realized that his wildly dramatic, woe-filled escapades of misery and misfortunate proved hilariously fraught with Schadenfreude for audiences while performing at the Bread and Circus, and thus his very own show Scott and the City was born! Scott and the City mixes Freethy’s pithy anecdotes about being “thirty, sometimes single, probably broke, and still fabulous in Toronto” with topical and classic pop songs and guest performances, all accompanied by an incredible rock band (headed by the adorably charming Scotty on electric guitar) which infuses the entire evening with enough incredible beat, rhythm and energy to turn even the most depressing year into the hottest party.
I attended Scott and the City #4 at the Bread and Circus last week, which was an entire retrospective of Freethy’s experience with his year from Hell and the show was billed as being for “anyone who had survived 2009.” It started most appropriately with Freethy belting the shit out of the overplayed 2009 Glee/Journey smash hit, “Don’t Stop Believin’” (which I personally can’t seem to get enough of, despite the fact that the rest of the world seems to want to throw themselves into oncoming traffic at the mere hint of it). Scott Freethy has a strong affinity with Jann Arden and apparently it is a tradition for him to sing at least one of her songs in each of his shows, and as a way to encapsulate his impression of 2009, he chose to sing her hit song, “Insensitive,” which was done with just enough angst and just enough soul.
Freethy had two incredible guest stars for Scott and the City #4 and it was fun to watch musical theatre veterans Jordan Bell and Kylee Evans manoeuvring their way around the stylinz and tunez of Beyonce, Lady Gaga, Mariah Carey and Miley Cyrus. Bell gave an epically spirited performance of “Party in the USA” which could effortlessly run Cyrus out of town. Kylee Evans sang a beautiful rendition of Chantal Kreviazuk’s “Feels Like Home to Me” filled with sweet emotion and her voice soared spectacularly through the small space. She also sang Beyonce’s “Smash into You” as a lovely ballad, much in the same way that Sharron Matthews’ manages to find so much truth and musicality in pop songs in her cabarets. Freethy and Bell also turned Lady Ga Ga’s “Paparazzi” and Kelly Clarkson’s “Because of You” into harmonized duets, which were both quite beautiful and musically satisfying. Bell, Evans and Freethy also had the ultimate of kitschy camp when they bust out with Cher’s “Believe,” which had such an enormous degree of silliness to it, it couldn’t help but being fun.
Scott and the City as an evening was a bit inconsistent. By times his flamboyance and sense of his own fabulousness reigned supreme, he sung like a rock star with a sprinkling of cheese, and then all of a sudden, he sat down at the piano and played and sang a gorgeous, sweet, entirely earnest song of his own composition and paid homage to his best friend, Brenda in a photo slide show montage. Yet, through it all, Freethy, Bell and Evans’ performances were all consistently strong and the whole night was absolutely entertaining.
There is a brand new Scott and the City show every three weeks at the Bread and Circus (299 Augusta Avenue), and I hope that even if 2010 throws significantly fewer curve balls for Scott Freethy than 2009 did, that it will keep providing juicy material for many bitchily endearing Scott shows to come. For information on the next Scott and the City, keep checking this lovely website.

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