If the mark of a truly gifted performer is the ability to convincingly portray a wide range of characters, then I must say, Kevin Earley is a truly remarkable actor. A TOTAL 360 degree turn from his previous role as the conservative, antagonist Edward Rutledge in 1776, Kevin handled the comedic role of lovable ranch hand Herman with great ease.
Although the role didn't allow Kevin to showcase his awesome voice enough for my taste, it was a great role to see how versatile he could be and to showcase his... (gasp) dancing talents as well. Among the myriad of talents that I've seen that Kevin possesses, I can now add dancing to the list :o).
As the amiable, happy-go-lucky Herman, Kevin was rather endearing in the role and again the thing I loved the most about his performance was that from the moment he stepped on stage he WAS Herman. I don't think I've ever seen Kevin smile as much as I'd seen him in this role. I appreciated the little things he added to bring out Herman's lovable nature. For example, it was almost hilarious to see the look of utter confusion on his face when George Ball's Tony blurted out a bunch of things in Italian after Rosabella almost fainted and he was extremely cute during "Big D" when Cleo sang, "...the way you drawl and the way you dress..." and Kevin smiled and pointed proudly at his big cowboy belt buckle in Sunday's two shows.
Not the striking, flooring type of performance he gave in 1776, the music in "The Most Happy Fella" was more upbeat and highlighted his acting more than his singing. However, I wouldn't be able to write a Kevin review without at least mentioning his voice. Although he was great in "Standing on the Corner" with the rest of the ensemble, he was particularly endearing matched up with Jennifer Leigh Warren's Cleo. And when he sang my favorite song of the production, "Big D" complete with yelps, Texas cowboy hollers, and a southern crack in his voice, I was in heaven. There were also certain numbers where his familiar, magnificent voice could clearly be heard from the rest of the ensemble. For example, in "Sposalizio", no matter where in the theatre I was sitting, I could hear traces of his beautiful baritone singing "...and the vino flowing..."
We saw the production a total of 5 times the weekend we were there. True, I would've much rather heard him try to tackle "Joey, Joey, Joey", but Herman was a cute role and I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to see Kevin showcase his comedic talents.
Nov 20, 2001
Nov 16-18, 2001