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Open: 05/15/10- Close: 05/17/10 I'll Relax When I'm Dead
Reviewed for By: Lori Chandler

I’ll Relax When I’m Dead, the 7th cabaret act written by rising star Seth Bisen-Hersh, leaves its audience with a racing pulse instead of a flat one. Ranging from the hilarious (“I Guess”) to the genuinely touching (“Who Knew?”), Bisen-Hersh shows off his ability to convey a myriad of emotions in this under-an hour show.

Some of the material fans will recognize, while other of the songs are brand new. Divided into three sections—songs he wrote for other people, songs he wrote because they had to be written, and two mini-musicals—the multi-talented cast breezes through each with refreshing ingenuity.

The highlight of the show is Bisen-Hersh’s most recent work, one of the mini-musicals, titled What If..? This particular piece is his strongest work to date, surpassing the old material with its title song alone. What If…? has the potential to be a full-fledged musical, not the least because of its very capable book by Michael Digaetano. It’s funny, sophisticated, and captivating. Rori Nogee’s rock n’ roll vocals are a stand out. The other mini-musical presented, My New Computer, succeeds mostly because of the energy provided by Brian Shaw as he bounces around the stage in anticipation of his, you guessed it, new computer. While the concept (Macs rule, PCs drool) is shaky at best, the songs are enjoyable and even makes fun of itself a little.

But songs would be in a proverbial dusty trunk without a cast to sing them. Gracing the stage with the poise of Audrey Hepburn but the voice of an angel is Mary Orzano. Showing off her comedic chops in “My New Computer” and her dramatic side in solo numbers, Orzano captures the hearts of the audience from the first note to the last. Also of note in this superior cast is Ryan Neller, who also exhibits a wide range and a plethora of charisma.

Putting it all together is Laura Pestronk, who expertly directs the whole endeavor. She doesn’t over-direct and each choice serves the piece fully.

 While some may lament the state of cabaret, with Bisen-Hersh on the scene no one needs to worry. Grab a buddy and come to Don’t Tell Mama’s, old chum.

Don't Tell Mama : 343 West 46th Street