There are some voices that resonate so loud in your spirit it causes your insides to jump up and down like you’re on a trampoline; It sends a tingling down your spine and up your legs that for just a moment you believe you’ve been touched by God himself. Or at the very least, God set you up to witness this because it seems nothing short of miraculous. This is the place I found myself last night as I listened to Mykal Kilgore croon over a
packed SOLD OUT house at 54Below.
— BroadwayBlack (@BroadwayBlack) August 5, 2014
Walking into the dining room of 54Below, I could hear the chatter of anticipation, and I thought to myself, “They must know what I know.” Having featured Mykal here on BroadwayBlack a couple of years ago, I knew the power of his gift and have had the pleasure of hearing him share that gift several more times since then. So, I took my seat on the far side of stage right and scanned the room for familiar faces. Within the blink of an eye, I spotted 4 Tony winners, and Broadway leads everywhere. Nikki M. James, Adriane Lenox, Billy Porter, & Lillias White, just to name a few. It was like everyone knew that Mykal had a show within him not to be missed.
Those lights went down, the band, led by Michael Mitchell, begin to play a smooth groove, the background vocals eased their way in gently directing us all to come along with them, and it began. Donning a classic shiny plum-colored suit, Kilgore took the stage and from that moment on gently began to pull at the roots of our wigs with The Supremes’ Up The Ladder To The Roof. However, little did we know, he wasn’t just about to sing our faces off like we all knew he could. As soon as he started the classical piece Romance by Claude Debussy I knew that he was about to delve inside himself and show more than he ever had before.
Mykal gave us some classics like Stevie Wonder’s My Cherie Amour & Killing Me Softly by The Fugees but they came with funny, touching, and inspiring anecdotes that helped us who know him and those who don’t to see where this light that shines so bright within him comes from. Singing in church, causing a middle school lunch room party when asked to sing by classmates, working cruise ships, and auditioning for his role model, Billy Porter were some of the memories he shared with us. Along the way he effortlessly made us laugh, sing with him, and shed a couple of tears.
Songs like Don’t Let the Sun Catch You Crying, CeeLo’s Fool For You, & Dionne Farris’ I Know were showcased extremely well with some uniquely beautiful arrangements. However, it was the story of losing his mother and the song You’re Never Alone dedicated to his family that brought every one to tears and on their feet. Closing with Des’ree’s You Gotta Be, we all stayed on our feet singing with Mykal, feeling empowered, renewed, and simply loved. Loved by his voice, his truth, his story, even his own family because we could feel it traveling over our heads from them to him on the stage.
Lots of times people ask you to go on a journey with them at the beginning of a show. We’ve all heard it before, but this was not just an ordinary journey. This was church. It was the prayer circle meeting before the service, the praise & worship, the scripture reading, the A&B selection on mass choir Sunday; It was the message, altar call and the benediction. Everything flowed in decency & in order and the spirit of God was definitely in the building because I don’t believe any of us left the same way we came in.
These are the only clips I had that I wasn’t laughing, singing, or crying in.
Listen to his voice, hear his spirit, be blessed by the purity of it all.
Directed by Will NunziataMusical Director/Piano – Michael Mitchell Bass – Alex Eckhardt Guitar – Ethan Pakchar Drums – Giancarlo de Trizio Vocals – Crystal Joy, Anastacia McCleskey, Travaulya Wallace