NYU's Independent Student Newspaper

Washington Square News

New Drag Show Is As Close to Whitney As You Can Get

Joseph Myers, Staff Writer

Ever wish that you could bring back one of the world’s favorite performers, who passed away far too soon? In “Classic Whitney: Alive,” triple-threat Kevin Smith Kirkwood (of “Kinky Boots” fame) makes this far-fetched dream possible, channeling Whitney Houston for a spectacular evening of song, dance and drag.

The premise of this one-person show states that Kirkwood is the vessel for Whitney to inhabit as she comes down from Heaven, but the truth is that Kevin Smith Kirkwood is Whitney Houston. Everything from his look to his singing to his banter with the audience is pure Whitney. Kirkwood made a grand entrance appearing onstage in Whitney’s famous track suit that she wore to the 1991 Super Bowl, gave a rousing performance of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” then ripped away the track suit to reveal an evening gown. From the top of the show, the performance was high-energy, with hits like “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” and “How Will I Know,” and then contrasting them with the power-ballad “Saving All My Love.”

It was incredibly clear that Kirkwood did thorough research on Whitney’s performances. Every movement, mannerism and voice affectation was spot-on. He studied the audience banter of Whitney’s past shows to create a script that recreates with pinpoint accuracy that same type of interaction in “Classic Whitney: Alive!” He even brought several guests onstage to recreate moments with people in Houston’s life, such as her mother Sissy Houston and Bobby Brown. The script was thoughtful and discussed Whitney’s faith in God, her love for the people in her life and what each song meant to her.

To say that Kevin Smith Kirkwood dazzled as Whitney Houston would be an understatement — it was impossible to take your eyes off of him. Even if you are a novice Whitney fan who may not know every song or reference made, Kirkwood is so charming and enchanting that it does not matter. There’s a certain charisma that Kirkwood possesses that straddles the line between himself and Whitney that charms the audience as both performers. When Kirkwood performed “I Will Always Love You,” there was not a person in the theater who was not on their feet; Kirkwood breathed so much life into this classic favorite while staying true to how Whitney performed it, creating an exhilarating and moving performance.

“Classic Whitney: Alive!” is a night of entertainment that will blow you away, whether you are a devoted Whitney fan or know little about Ms. Houston. Kevin Smith Kirkwood’s energy, talent and charm are the perfect combination to create an evening of mind-blowing entertainment.

“Classic Whitney: Alive!” plays periodically at Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater, 425 Lafayette St. Future dates can be found on KevinSmithKirkwood.com.

Email Joseph Myers at [email protected].

Related Stories

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Leave a Comment

Comments that are deemed spam or hate speech by the moderators will be deleted.

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




Navigate Right
Navigate Left
  • New Drag Show Is As Close to Whitney As You Can Get

    ARTS

    NYU Alums Create Grant to Support Indie Film

  • New Drag Show Is As Close to Whitney As You Can Get

    ARTS

    Tribeca 2017: ‘Elian’ Recounts the U.S.-Cuba Showdown Over a 5-Year-Old Boy

  • New Drag Show Is As Close to Whitney As You Can Get

    ARTS

    Third Street Music School Nurtures Souls

  • New Drag Show Is As Close to Whitney As You Can Get

    ARTS

    C3 Exudes Eclecticism With Debut EP

  • New Drag Show Is As Close to Whitney As You Can Get

    ARTS

    Film Favorite ‘Anastasia’ Takes a Journey to the Stage

  • New Drag Show Is As Close to Whitney As You Can Get

    ARTS

    ‘Groundhog Day’ : Deja Vu Dances all Over Again

  • New Drag Show Is As Close to Whitney As You Can Get

    ARTS

    Tribeca 2017: Jon Hamm, Jenny Slate Can’t Save ‘Aardvark’

  • New Drag Show Is As Close to Whitney As You Can Get

    ARTS

    Tribeca 2017: ‘A Thousand Junkies’ is a Comedic Ode to Addiction

  • New Drag Show Is As Close to Whitney As You Can Get

    ARTS

    Tribeca 2017: Despite All-Star Cast, ‘The Circle’ Is Disastrous

  • New Drag Show Is As Close to Whitney As You Can Get

    ARTS

    Tribeca 2017: An Anniversary You Can’t Refuse

NYU's Independent Student Newspaper
New Drag Show Is As Close to Whitney As You Can Get