Jack Donahue, a UVA alum, just spent a week in Chicago performing his popular cabaret show and next week he brings it to Charlottesville as part of the line-up of shows in the Heritage Repertory Theater Company’s season. Lucky us. Donahue has received rave reviews for his voice and his show in New York, where he lives. Reconceived for HRT as “Summer Songs,” the show promises a mix of tunes to celebrate the season.
Donahue, who graduated from the M.F.A. program in acting in 1993, has spent the last six months as a guest lecturer in the Drama Department at UVA. He recently released his first recording, Lighthouse, and many of the songs in his show are featured on the compact disc.
Since leaving Charlottesville to pursue his acting career in New York, Donahue has become one of the stars of the city's cabaret scene. He won the Backstage Bistro Award for "Outstanding Vocalist" in 1999 and was also nominated for "Best Performer" by the Manhattan Association of Clubs and Cabarets.
I first encountered Donahue earlier in the spring when he gave a benefit concert for a local charity in the beautiful auditorium in Cabell Hall. The room was perfect for his understated but entrancing, performance. Donahue is a smooth tenor with boyish charm, and the evening was a delight.
In addition to his solo stint, Donahue will also lend his directing talents to HRT this summer. He’s slated to provide artistic direction for the Off-Broadway hit musical, “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change” (playing July 16-August 3).
Critic David Hurst in his review in Show Business Weekly says that “Lighthouse is astonishing, revealing a singer of enormous depth and range possessing what may be the great lyrical tenor voice for the new millennium.” Don’t miss your chance to hear him when he sings in your own backyard.
“Summer Songs” plays for one week only, June 25-29, at the Helms Theater on the Grounds of UVA. 109 Culbreth Rd. 7:30pm each evening. $14-25. 924-3376.