“Thank God she’s not on American Idol,” I thought as Shannon O’Keefe sang the last note of her concert. Performing live in New York for the first time, the 23 year old actress and singer treated her audience at the Duplex’s Cabaret Theatre to an evening of entertainment showcasing her range, depth and talent.
O’Keefe’s energy was apparent from the moment she bounded onstage and gave her audience an enthusiastic welcome. She introduced them to her concept of the concert – a cabaret-style night of “personal theatre.” Framing the songs around her experiences as a singer and actress, O’Keefe shared some stories from her childhood and early performances as well as her current auditions and endeavors.
The talented young woman shifted characters with songs, alternating between being a elf-possessed and posed singer and a young woman simply excited to be onstage. “It’s not cabaret unless you sit on the piano,” she said at one point, promptly hopping onto the baby grand and continuing her song.
The evening’s lineup consisted of some pop-rock melodies, a few ballads, and one or two musical theatre songs thrown in for good measure. The highlight of the evening was a fierce rendition of Elton John’s “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me,” which O’Keefe said she had always wanted to perform but was unable to until collaborating with her pianist, Tracy Stork.
O’Keefe’s talent and spunk would have served her well on American Idol, but if this concert is any indication, she is bound for bigger and better things. The refreshingly intimate evening was over too quickly, but I have no doubt that O’Keefe will be performing live again soon.