When: Fri., Dec. 23, 8:30 p.m. 2011
What began as a few funny songs thrown into an otherwise serious singer-songwriter's set has evolved into a full production. Stephen Vincent has developed five distinct personae (with more to come) for his Rock Star Stephen Vincent Show. He's also built a mobile changing room that folds down to fit in a plastic crate and assembles quickly. And he's been practicing both his acting and his cross-genre musical chops to get this one-man spectacle ready.
Admittedly, musical comedy is a tough shtick. Even those who are really good at it aren't necessarily taken seriously as performers. And excess repetition (see Flight of the Conchords' disastrous second season) can turn laughs into yawns. Yet the ambitious Vincent's one-man show aims to combat both concerns. "Some people have been amazingly brash in letting me know they don't like my singing," he says. So he's crafting a Sinatra-style crooner character (Stephano Vincento) and has been practicing the vocal style. On some level, he says, he wants to prove to his detractors that he actually can sing. But he also wants these distinct characters to yield believable, competent performances.
In the spirit of character immersion, Vincent, who never really listened to hip-hop until a year ago, is on a huge Eminem kick. "It's all I listen to now," he says. So he developed rapper Stevie V. "This character is going to be really fun to play, but scary, because I risk making a complete idiot out of myself." Maybe he'll have better luck as Vince Stephens, who plays Nashville versions of his songs. Vincent will also play as himself and as Rock Star Stephen Vincent, but his goal is to remain in character at all times. The 8:30 p.m. show is free. —Corbie Hill