Review: Tom Wopat at the Cabaret

Posted by admin on August 16, 2012

By Lou Harry, Indianapolis Business Journal
July 16, 2012

The last time Tom Wopat performed in Indy, he was playing the opportunist lawyer in the touring company of “Chicago.” At the same time, he was playing the opportunist actor who shamelessly (albeit charmingly) hawked his CDs in the lobby after and before the show.

For his weekend stint at the Cabaret at the Columbia Club, Wopat was equally shameless and even more charming, winningly playing a swinging set at Friday night’s show in between audience schmoozing and CD pushing.

Yes, I’m talking about the Tom Wopat who starred for years as Luke Duke on “The Dukes of Hazzard.” In seemingly another world, he’s also transitioned into a Broadway star, with impressive work in “Sondheim on Sondheim,” “A Catered Affair,” “Glengarry Glen Ross,” and “Catch Me If You Can.”

At the Cabaret, backed by an able duo on bass and piano, Wopat effectively bridged those worlds, blending his theatrical vocal chops with his easy TV manner, all the while communicating a love for the music the 60-year-old only discovered in the last decade or so.

The song list focused more on standards than Broadway fare, ranging from “Makin’ Whoopee” to the Jimmy Webb classic “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.” Wopat’s gruffy sweetness served “I Get Along Without You Very Well (Except Sometimes)” very well and while it has become a cliche for nearly every artist at the Cabaret to do “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” his version had just enough swing in it to keep it fresh.

And if you bought a CD, you got a signed 8-by-10.

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