Alan H. Green’s “Finally” Closes the Cabaret Season at Mr. Finn’s

Alan H. Green exploded onto the William Finn Cabaret stage with the famous opening Zulu lines from Elton John and Tim Rice’s “Circle of Life,” which roughly translated proclaims “Here’s the King.” The song segued into “Can You Feel the Love Tonight?” the audience was primed for an audacious evening of risks in the basement of Barrington Stage Company’s Sydelle & Lee Blatt building.

Alan H. Green

The evening was titled “Finally” Alan told us, as it was Mr. Green’s first solo cabaret performance in his 30-year career. He confided that he didn’t really like cabaret. He found them “too precious and self-involved.” This from a man about to launch one of the most intimate, powerful, and fearless acts I’ve ever had the privilege to attend. Methinks he doth protest too much.

He also espoused a philosophy dear to my heart, remembering that during the pandemic, when we had no reason to get out of bed, we must seize the opportunities presented to us while they are available or create them, if necessary. “We’ve got to stop waiting for our ‘finallys’ to happen.”

His blueprint for constructing a cabaret act was Kander & Ebb’s “Razzle Dazzle,” in which he added some “fauxsy” dance moves, cracking me up with his play on the choreographer’s name.

He enacted a conversion experience in “I’m Beginning to See the Light,” building from hushed tones to full-out praise in this Duke Ellington song from his Broadway debut, “Play On!”

The revelatory discovery for me came next with the gentle, forgiving “Days I Can” by Ben Caplan, where Alan shared the piano bench with his accompanist Micah Young and confessed his fragility in the face of depression. It was tender, gentle, and uplifting in its acceptance. He concluded the song and told the audience, “If I’m okay, then all of you are okay, in all your faults.” An earlier hard-won truth had Alan talking about the roller coaster of show business and how it can make him happy or sad but that it can’t steal his joy because his joy is in his friends, family, and sometimes food. There were many moments that felt like mass (in a good way!) with this phenomenal talent, who is also an out proud gay Christian.

The surprise of the evening came with a coy retreat upstage, where he doffed his pants, added a string of pearls, a pair of high heels, and ripped open his shirt, revealing a leather corset for “Sweet Transvestite” from Richard O’Brien’s “Rocky Horror Show.” It’s true! Labor Day is the Spooky Season kick-off.

Micah Young handled the costume change with an endearing “Someone to Watch Over Me,” which had quite a few in the audience filling in for Mr. Green by singing the Gershwin standard while he got dressed.

Two of the highlights of BSC’s summer tent productions of evenings of Gershwin and Rodgers & Hammerstein were Alan’s apt contributions. His “My Man’s Gone Now,” dedicated to the memory of George Floyd in the Gershwin summer evening of 2021, was searing, and “Edelweiss” from the R&H show was a testament to a country that he loved that didn’t always treat him so well. Genius interpretations easily made the classics vital to our times.

The proud guncle dedicated a flawlessly sung “Bring Him Home” to his nephews, whom he thinks of often when making career choices and how he would like them to experience his representation in theater.

Finally, Alan H. Green shared a song he wrote for his father called “Finally.” The H in his name stands for his father’s name, Homer. It was another courageous move that had him sitting down at the piano and closing the show with this love song written from the heart. All that was left was the false exit for the demanded encore (as Mr. Green pointed out, another thing he hated about cabarets). He serenaded the audience (which included the fantastic cast of the hit revival of “A New Brain”) with “You Are the Sunshine of My Life.” Let’s hope the wonderful evening melted Alan’s aversion to cabarets.

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