Daryl Glenn and Jo Lynn Burks: Nashville
Thu May 22 2008
Photograph: Bill Hayward
Metropolitan Room; Sun, May 25, Jun 29
Robert Altman’s 1975 film, Nashville, took ensemble storytelling to such virtuoso heights that critic Pauline Kael called it a “radical, evolutionary leap.” This scathing lampoon of presidential politics interwove the tales of 24 characters, many of them parodies of Grand Ole Opry idols. The country world hated Nashville, but its soundtrack was a hit. Nearly all the songs were penned by the actors, including Karen Black and Ronee Blakley; Keith Carradine’s sexy “I’m Easy” won an Oscar.
Nashville has come back to life at the Metropolitan Room, where ten singers and musicians are tipping their cowboy hats to this cult-favorite soundtrack. The stars, Daryl Glenn and Jo Lynn Burks, have voices so golden and robust that you may wonder why they aren’t better known. Glenn, a genial, guitar-playing teddy bear, did years of theater in Kentucky before becoming a Met Room host. Burks, once Miss Alabama, is a big-haired, honey-dripping bombshell; she’s also the pianist and musical director, roles she’s filled in a slew of musicals. The rubber-faced, multi–MAC Award–winning goofball Jay Rogers adds his endearing silliness to these afternoon shows.
Nashville’s cheerful ditties, such as “It Don’t Worry Me,” achieved an irony onscreen that can’t be copied here, without the political backdrop. If the American-flag shirts and hillbilly accents that remain are enough to give you red-state nightmares, never fear: The Met Room is as far from Tennessee as Oz was from Kansas—and after the show, you can check out Glenn’s Streisand-photo collection on his website.