Off the back of a hugely successful one-night-only event in 2016, Sing Out, Louise, a communal singalong night that features songs from a cavalcade of musicals, is returning to The Oxford Hotel next weekend. And this time, Sydneysiders have two chances to participate, with Sing Out, Louise taking over the venue’s Polo Lounge on both Friday 15 and Saturday 16 September.
Two talented pianist entertainers, Kenney Green and Adam Tilford, are flying in especially from New York City to play and lead the crowds. Both Green and Tilford are pianists at Marie’s Crisis, New York City’s most famous and adored piano bar, located in the West Village in Downtown Manhattan.
Speaking to Theatre People from New York as he prepares to travel to Sydney, Green highlights the fact that he’s been a part of efforts to recreate the Marie’s Crisis experience in Sydney for each of the past four years.
“The Spectrum Now Festival … invited Marie’s Crisis to participate and bring our piano bar to the festival,” he says. “We did that for two years and we set up at the QT Hotel.”
Green describes Sing Out, Louise organiser Gary Nunn as having been an avid patron of the Marie’s Crisis experience at the festival.
“He was there every single night and he was singing to the wee hours of the morn, and we became friends,” Green says.
Nunn asked Green if he would be interested in taking part in a New York style piano bar experience in Sydney outside of the Spectrum Now Festival.
“I said I would love to, and let’s move forward and discuss some details and see what it would take to make that happen. And here I am, for the second year.”
So, how does the evening work?
“I normally start off the first hour with what I think is going to be fun to get the audience involved and sing along,” Green says. “I will start off with some classics, like Chicago or Oklahoma or The Sound of Music. As the night goes on, I’ll start taking requests and people can request things like Next to normal or Waitress or Hamilton.
“The evening kind of bounces back and forth. There’s no real set tone; we throw caution to the wind and see what happens!”
Green discusses the inaugural Sing, Out Louise evening last year.
“It was a phenomenal experience,” he says.” We only did it one evening last time [and] we had to turn people away … There was a line out the door and we couldn’t fit any more people in the room.”
And how do Sydney crowds compare to the patrons Green is used to in NYC?
“I find them more lively than the crowds at Marie’s in New York,” he says. “Sydneysiders … love to drink and they like to have a good time, and everyone is so nice and so pleasant, and so I love everything about it! This is my fourth year coming out and participating in something like this in Sydney, and I’ve not found a single negative thing I could possibly say about it. Everyone is so lovely and so open and so kind and really wants to genuinely have a good time. That’s what makes the evening so much fun – you have to come in knowing that whether you’re an opera singer or a Broadway performer or you can’t hold a note with a handle, you just come in and you throw your cares away and open your mouth and sing along and make new friends. That’s what makes it awesome.”
Green also describes the type of person he hopes to see turning up to Sing Out, Louise next weekend.
“Anybody who secretly drives in their car and sings along … to any of the Broadway divas, but they’d never let anybody know. That’s the person who I want to come and let their hair down and have a great time!”
More info on Sing Out, Louise can be found at www.facebook.com/singoutlou