By: Paulanne Simmons
The Brooklyn based, Venezuelan born dancer, singer, songwriter and activist Migguel Anggelo returned to Joe’s Pub with a show that included new songs, American standards and Latin classics. There was even a touch of opera. Directed and developed by Obie Award winner David Drake, So Close: Love & Hate features musical direction and arrangements by Mau Quiros, who is also on piano, percussion and loop, with Hery Paz on saxophone, clarinets and flute; and Jessie Reagen Mann on cello.
Despite much of the show’s serious content, So Close: Love & Hate has a great deal of whimsy. Anggelo bounced onto the stage dressed as Kermit the Frog (costumes by Clint Ramos and Anggelo) singing “Evergreen.” As he struggled to get out of the suit he told the audience, “It’s not easy being green.”
But not long afterward, Anggello was singing the biting lyrics of his own “I Hate this Song”: “Start up the engine, drill the earth for gold/sell it to the devil, along with your soul.”
Of course, much of the evening was also devoted to love. One of the most moving pieces was Anggelo’s “El Amor del Cello.” With cello accompaniment, Anggelo told the story of a cello’s unrequited love for a harp.
Anggello, who trained for a dozen years in classical ballet, moves as expressively as he sings. This adds a very special dimension to his act, especially when he dons an evening gown and sings “Mon Coeur S’ouvre a ta Voix” from Camille Saint-Saëns opera, Samson and Delilah.
For the last number before the encore, Anggelo appeared as a German girl, complete with clogs and pinafore, singing “Do Re Mi” from Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The Sound of Music. Soon he had the entire audience singing along. Which proves once again that it’s really all about the music.
So Close: Love & Hate, Tuesday, May 23rd and Wednesday, May 24th at 7 p.m., Joe’s Pub, 425 Lafayette Street.