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Wednesday, 26 February 2014 12:02

Tim Schall takes us back to '1961'

Written by Katie McGrath
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Tim Schall
Tim Schall

Tim Schall's musical exploration of 1961 demonstrates that it was a very good year.  

As a multi-talented presence in the St. Louis music and theater scene, Tim Schall brings to mind the parable of the blind men and the elephant in which the men experience one facet of the elephant and believe they know it all, when in fact their knowledge is limited to just one piece of the beast. (Writer's disclosure: I've known Tim personally and professionally for ten years, so I know this elephant pretty well.)

Let me elaborate on that. He's a go-to character actor with range and depth shown us as Mr. Palmer in the Black Rep's "Caroline or Change," or as Stanley, the prodigal brother in the Mustard Seed's "Smoke on the Mountain," and most recently in their "All Is Calm" holiday production.

He's also well known as the man who lit the flame of the local cabaret scene, and he still holds the lantern high in his annual St. Louis Cabaret Conference, bringing the biggest names in the business to our town for workshops and performances.

But it's in Schall's solo cabaret shows where he most reveals himself as a man and an artist. ; This past Saturday he appeared in The Presenters Dolan Gaslight Cabaret Festival with "1961," his new show directed by Lara Teeter, focusing on the music and times of his natal year.

With the year 1961 as his platform, he explored a broad landscape ranging from the late fringes of his beloved American Songbook ("Moon River" and "Georgia") to classic pop ("Money", "Stand By Me") and an incredibly tender, decidedly masculine take on the traditionally feminine, "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow." The biggest surprise and most fun of the show was when he picked up his guitar and rocked the house along with Music Director Carol Schmidt, Ben Wheeler on bass and Ari Axelrod on percussion and background vocals. He closed the set showcasing his gorgeous range and passion with another surprise, the gospel anthem, "Gonna Build a Mountain."

A great show from one of St. Louis's very best. The good news for folks who missed the sold-out event is that he is reprising it on March 22. For more information: www.licketytix.com.

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