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Feels Like Home - Glorious


"FEELS LIKE HOME, Kotula was many things, among them charming, vulnerable, goofy, touching, plaintive, entertaining, but above all, glorious."


“Glorious” is a descriptive that reviewers tend to shy away from, lest the exuberance of the word impart unrealistic expectations and overshadow the subject at hand, but when speaking of local talent Bobbi Kotula, it is irrefutably accurate. In her one woman performance, FEELS LIKE HOME, Kotula was many things, among them charming, vulnerable, goofy, touching, plaintive, entertaining, but above all, glorious.

Director David Bennett was the impetus for the one-night-only performance at the IKEA Performing Arts Center in Renton on Monday, March 28th. While working with Kotula on last year’s production of MAN OF LA MANCHA at the Village Theatre, he had asked about her CD compilation and whether she had a one woman show associated with it. She replied “Yes, but it needs work,” so he offered to help her shape and finesse it. The logistics for producing the performance fell unexpectedly into place, and before long, she had a venue, an ensemble featuring six of the finest musicians in the area, and a new perspective on the show courtesy of Mr. Bennett.

To see Bobbi Kotula on stage is to witness the absolute joy of performance. She revels in her chosen material, clarifying it with emotional depth and vocal precision.

As a comedienne, she elicited laughter with ease on the numbers “I Hate The Sun”, “Perfect Isn’t Easy” and “Why Him?” On the turn of a dime, she brought the audience to tears with the songs “Red Letter Love” and “You Can Take The TV”. The beautifully rendered “Dona Nobis Pacem” offered a reflective moment to these troubled times in which we live, and her inner strength was given the spotlight on “I Don’t Need A Man” and “Don’t Rain On My Parade”.

If I were pressed to make any criticism of the show, it would be the placement of the final number and the encore. Randy Newman’s “Feels Like Home” rather paled in comparison to the show-stopping “Don’t Rain On My Parade” directly preceding it, and the encore of “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” seemed too lulling a finish to an otherwise powerhouse performance.

Nevertheless, her vocal artistry was extraordinary, and the six member ensemble made the evening that much sweeter. The fact that Kotula was able to bring together Dane Anderson (Clarinet, Flute, Alto Sax), David Cole (Trumpet, Flugelhorn), Jon Miller (Bass, Guitar, Mandolin, Banjo), Bruce Monroe (Percussion, Musical Arranger), Mark Rabe (Piano, Musical Director) and Sally Strohm (Cello), in addition to having David Bennett direct, is a testament to the esteem her peers hold for her.

It’s a shame it was a one-night affair, as the show could easily run for weeks, if not months. Hopefully, Kotula will pursue other opportunities for presenting it. Getting to know her through the music she chose and the gentle reflections she shared about her life was a warm and delightful experience…indeed, it felt like home.

 J.J. DeWitt, SeattleActor.com





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