Located in New York City’s Greenwich Village is the iconic piano bar Marie’s Crisis. It’s a place where musical theatre fans gather to belt out showtunes together. Celebrities have been known to attend singalong nights at Marie’s Crisis, including comedian and talkshow host Jimmy Fallon.
“Marie’s Crisis is the world’s only singalong showtunes piano bar that’s acoustic,” says Kenney Green, one of the pianists from the famous NYC venue. “We come for our shift behind the piano, people come in and order a drink and stand behind the piano and sing showtunes together at the top of their lungs all night long,” he says.
Green and fellow Marie’s Crisis pianist Adam Tilford are currently in Australia to recreate the experience for local musical theatre fans. As part of the Melbourne Fringe Festival, they’ll be heading to the CBD this evening for a mighty showtunes singalong.
While this is the first time Green, Tilford and producer Gary Nunn have brought this experience to Melbourne, they’ve already had great success running similar events in Sydney.
“We started about four years back with the Sydney Spectrum Now Festival,” Green tells Theatre People. “After two years, we started doing it on our own.”
Under the name Sing Out, Louise, the team has staged Marie’s Crisis-style events in Sydney – and Sydney’s musical theatre fans have been more than happy to take part.
“They’ve been very well received,” Green says of the Sydney events. “We’ve been doing them at The Oxford Hotel, where we did it for two nights just last week and the year before.”
He recalls the first time the Sydney experience played at The Oxford Hotel.
“We had a line down the stairs,” Green says. “[The bar] was on the third floor and we had a line that wrapped around three floors and outside of people [wanting] to get in.”
The singalong night features songs from a wide range of musicals that includes Les Misérables, My Fair Lady and Grease.
“We’ve done stuff from The Sound of Music, Chicago… Mamma Mia definitely goes over well,” Green says. “A lot of the standards, a lot of Stephen Sondheim goes over well …
“When everybody hears a song that they love, you hear the gasp from the audience … it’s great!”
So, how did the decision to bring the Marie’s Crisis experience to Melbourne come about? Green recalls a conversation he had with Nunn.
“We were just talking one day and he said, ‘We should try to do Fringe’. So we registered and signed up and here we are!
“Our goal is to recreate, as best we can, Marie’s Crisis back home in New York.”
And who should head along to tonight’s event?
“The people who are really going to enjoy it are people who are aficionados of musical theatre,” Green says. “If you love musical theatre, you love going to musicals, this is the spot for you.”
MARIE’S CRISIS AT MELBOURNE FRINGE FESTIVAL – EVENT DETAILS
Date: Sunday 16 September, 2018
Time: 6:00pm until late
Venue: Fringe Hub: Arts House (521 Queensberry Street, Melbourne)
Ticket prices: $24.50 – $35.00
To purchase tickets, click here