David Auxier-Loyola’s musical-in-progress “The EnGaygement,” inspired by his and spouse Carlos Auxier-Loyola’s story, and fresh from its premiere performances at the Metropolitan Room, in Chelsea, reached Cherry Grove’s historic Community House, thanks to the Arts Project of Cherry Grove, on the eve of Labor Day, and touched the hearts of those who attended. David’s music was arranged by Mark York and stage direction was by Duncan Pflaster. My unique seat for this performance was situated to the left of the keyboard of the Yamaha piano, serving as page turner for Maître Jean-Pierre Lemarié, the tireless musical director here.
“The EnGaygement” traces the meeting at a Village piano bar, the bumps in the relationship road and, ultimately, the exchange of marriage vows of couple David—multitalented David Auxier, singer, composer, actor, dancer, and choreographer, essentially playing himself—and Seph, the Carlos stand-in—beautiful bel canto baritone Seph Stanek, whom you may know from Broadway at the Beach, New York Gilbert & Sullivan Players, and/or “Naked Boys Singing.”
The friends accompanying David and Seph on their journey are Chris-Ian—Chris-Ian Sanchez, an OceanAires veteran—who entered singing a perfect coloratura cadenza, out of Olympia’s “Les oiseaux dans la charmille,” from “Tales of Hoffmann; Brian—Brian Hall, talented singing waiter from Island Breeze—who sings a solo at the piano bar and later is the victim of a chilling gay-bashing right nearby; bisexual Ken—our own Ken Woodhouse, known in certain circles as cabaret singer Sonny Shores—who pronounces David and Seph’s nuptial vows; and Meg—powerhouse Meg Doherty, a regular at Broadway at the Beach—Ken’s wife, as at-home in the piano bar as any of the gay men.
David’s compelling music for “The EnGaygement” includes patter on the order of that of Gilbert and Sullivan and Stephen Sondheim; complex ensembles reflecting the influence of French Romantic and Impressionist composers; ballads, both power and romantic; moving love and feisty almost out-of-love duets for David and Seph; hints of vaudeville and the music hall; and echoes of Nancy LaMott and other recent classy artists. Meg brought down the house with her 11 o’clock
number, which actually came at about 9:15 p.m., “Realistic Me.”
Designer George McGarvey assisted in creating the piano bar setting. Meg, Ken, Brian, and Jean-Pierre, who did not appear in the initial Manhattan engagement of “The EnGaygement,” did yeoman duty, learning their music in only a few days. I most serendipitously became part of this endeavor, just two days before, and am so very pleased that I did. Watch for additional performances at the Metropolitan Room or visitwww.davidauxier.com
for further announcements.