Do I Have To Get Naked?

Gryphon Theatre, 22 Ghuznee Street, Wellington

23/05/2006 - 03/06/2006

Production Details

Jane Keller
accompanied by Michael Nicholas Williams

Following last year’s sell-out season, Jane Keller is back to delight Wellington audiences once again with her fabulous one- woman show.

After 30 years of marriage, Carol finds herself thrust back into the Singles Scene when her husband trades her in for a younger model! Dating is not how it used to be! Cyber sex, phone sex, any sex! The mind boggles!

Jane Keller is a classically trained singer, but her real love is Musical Theatre. Born in Columbus, Ohio, she has a wealth of experience in Gilbert and Sullivan shows such as “Pirates of Penzance” and “HMS Pinafore” among others. Jane is best known for her work with Columbus Light Opera, where she was the principal comic mezzo for many years, and for her hugely successful solo show, BIGGER IS BETTER.

With songs from Contemporary Musical Theatre, Keller’s story of surviving a mid life crisis results in an evening of hilarious and poignant entertainment.

Theatre , Music , Solo ,

2hrs incl. interval

Winning comic cabaret

Review by John Smythe 28th May 2006

In the first half of Jane Keller’s new cabaret show, Do I Have to Get Naked? Jane Keller plays out the idea that her character, Carol Todd (nee Sweeney) is auditioning again after years away in the land of marriage and motherhood, followed by a messy divorce.

The device allows her to stitch together the first seven songs with comic and sometimes touching chit-chat, casting us as her auditioners, while pianist Michael Nicholas Williams plays the long-suffering accompanist.

With often little-known – so refreshingly new – material, sourced mostly from New York song-writers I’d guess, ‘Carol’ shares her transformation from clumsy nervousness to regained confidence, winning us with her witty, insightful, emotionally true and often poignant story and songs.

High points of the first half are ‘Fifteen Pounds Away From My Love’ ("What’ve you got to lose?… You take the cake") and the mid-point finale, ‘Shopping Cart of Love’ which encapsulates a mini-play about how the worst day of her life takes a wonderfully positive turn.

The second half depicts Carol’s fully-fledged return to cabaret, as her story continues around the theme of attempting to find a new love. The next comic highlight, ‘Shattered Illusions’, is soon superseded by a plaintive-cum-angry lament from the wife of Santa Clause (a Jessica Molaskey take-off of the Brecht/Weill classic, ‘Surabaya Johnny’).

Then there’s ‘Arthur in the Afternoon’ from the 1977 Liza Minnelli vehicle The Act … Without amplification and no more than an upright piano, Keller and Williams keep the show humming with their simple, apparently effortless musicality.

Personally I find it a shame that she ends Do I Have to Get Naked? with a harsh-toned send-up of the brash Broadway sound in ‘I Can Si-yi-yi-yi-yi-yi-ying’. But that would be easily fixed with an encore, which Jane Keller richly deserves and her audience clearly would like.


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Female Souls Bared #1

Review by Ewen Coleman [Reproduced with permission of Fairfax Media] 28th May 2006

Jane Keller’s musical Do I Have To Get Naked? takes a somewhat irreverent look at the plight of Carol, a 50-something women who, after 30 years of marriage, is now devoid of husband and children. 

In the first half we see a rather down-beat Carol auditioning for a cabaret show, belting out different types of songs in the hope of getting a part. 

Between each song we garner snippets of Carol’s life and how she got to where she is today.  In the second half, a much more sophisticated Carol appears, having won a solo spot in the cabaret show for which she was auditioning.  Through this half we learn about the various ways, mostly funny, that Carol tries to meet men. 

Keller is a talented and experienced performer, not handicapped by the use of amplification or microphones, who is one minute sassy and sexy, the next sultry and subbed, as she covers a range of songs from lesser known American artists and shows to tell her story. 

Not content to use her voice as just an instrument, she gets behind the songs and feels the emotion, and comedy, with great facial expressions and body language, making her performance great to watch as well as listen to and one from which many younger stage singers and performers could learn a lot.


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