Barton and Cage’s Broadway Faces ready final show of the season
March 11, 2016
Egyptian Theatre Manager Randy Barton and award-winning, Park City-based recording artist Robyn Cage have busy indulging in their love of Broadway musicals and jazz standards.
The two have performed weekly at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse from 7:30 p.m. until 9:30 p.m. as Broadway Faces for the past four weeks.
They will perform their final showcase of the season on Monday, March 14, but Barton said he wants to bring the performances back in a few months.
"We’ll see if we can start it up again in the summer and then do it again next winter," Barton told The Park Record. "But it’s been fun so far."
Barton started it all when he contacted Cage in January about doing a show together.
"He knew I had a theater background, as you know, I grew up theater," Cage said during a separate interview. "He told me what he wanted to do and there was nothing in this town like this. I mean, there are tons of live music, but no one is really doing jazz standards and showtunes. So, we decided to try this out."
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The idea stemmed from a similar concept Barton had worked on in town during the mid-1980s.
"In 1986 we had a piano bar in places like the Claim Jumper downstairs and Mileti’s upstairs," he said. "We ended up performing for a while during the opening of lower Main Street in the 1990s and we called it Mulberry Street and did it out at Sneakers as well.
"It was an open-mic, moving piano bar and we called it Broadway Faces," Barton said. "We hired a piano and people would just show up and sing."
When he heard Cage had studied musical theater and performed in New York, he wanted to start performing again.
"I like to call myself the host, and I get to sing here and there, but Robyn is really the talent, the pianist and the player," Barton said. "I thought we could do something, because I get a lot of joy performing Broadway and jazz-standard music."
The only night they both had open was Mondays.
"There isn’t a whole lot going on Mondays, so we weren’t worried about conflicting shows," Cage said. "So, this was something that we thought would be fun to do and it would give people something to do on Monday nights.
"The response has been awesome," she said. "There are a few theater nerds in Park City, and I’m really noticing people really love the show and it’s been fun and exciting for us."
Barton and Cage came up with the set lists.
"We both have large repertoires and picked out eight to 10 tunes that I could do and 20 or so that she could do to fill up the two-hour set," Barton said.
"We wanted a mix of Broadway favorites that people will know and can sing along with," Cage said. "We also wanted to fill it out with some more obscure material, too. That way audiences will hear tunes they may never have heard before or that they rarely get to hear."
Some of those obscure works are by Stephen Sondheim, whom both Cage and Barton cite as a favorite composer.
"It was funny, because Randy picked a couple of Sondheim songs that even I’ve never heard before," she said. "I mean, they’re that obscure, but also so very beautiful."
Each set is divided into themes, according to Cage.
"We’ll put together a ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ set where we’ll perform a couple of songs from that show or we’ll do a ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ set and play two or three songs from that show," she said. "We want to have people get a feel for the characters, especially with a musical that they may have known but have never seen before."
In addition, Cage brings in some new songs.
"I still keep an eye on what’s happening in New York and try to bring in some of those pieces," she said. "Just this past year, the pop singer Sara Bareilles wrote a musical [called "Waitress"] that is now running on Broadway. So, I brought in a song from the show that I really love."
On top of that, Barton and Cage will perform some jazz standards from Louis Armstrong and Frank Sinatra.
"Interestingly enough, many of their songs were in Broadway shows in the 1930s and 1940s, but made more popular by these singers," Cage said. "Randy is such an engaging host and he likes telling the stories behind the songs and getting the audience involved."
Cage performs a couple of her originals during the sets as well.
"The ones I play are my more theatrical songs," she said.
While the audiences have enjoyed the performances, Barton and Cage have enjoyed getting back to their favorite style of music.
"It’s kind of funny because I have not done much theater stuff since I left New York, the stuff that I majored in and played for most of my life," Cage said. "It feels good to get back to material that I have neglected for about five years.
"This way, I get my theater fix and sing the type of music I love and spent years training for," she said. "So, it’s been really fun."
While Barton didn’t major in theater, he minored in it when he attended the University of Utah.
"I got into theater because of the stage and applause," Barton said with a laugh. "There is something about musical show tunes because they don’t just touch and entertain people, they have to further the musical’s story.
"Also, back when most of these songs were written, musical theater was the main form of the nation’s entertainment," he said. "They were bigger than movies and TV wasn’t invented then. So, the best of the best — the Cole Porters and George Gershwins and Leonard Bernsteins — were working on them. That’s something you don’t see anymore. The top composers are now working in film or pop music."
Randy Barton and Robyn Cage will present Broadway Faces at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse at Hotel Park City, 2001 Park Ave., on Monday, March 14, from 7:30 p.m. until 9:30 p.m. Reservations can be made by calling 435-940-5070 and mentioning Broadway Faces.