by Tracey Paleo, Gia On The Move
“It’s not my way to wear my heart on my sleeve, but I will take some personal privilege.”
There are several themes arranged inside Piano Man Richard Levinson’s (12 Bars, Thanks A Lot – My Gratitusical!) latest Hollywood Fringe offering, Personal Privilege and True Tales From Tap City a compilation of funny and not-so-funny tunes about birth, death, work, war, licentious behavior, parental pride, the past, the future, jokes, and angry monkeys (although we’re certain that’s just part of the jokes section).
According to Levinson, in debate, the word ‘privilege’ means you get a chance say whatever you want without contradiction because you have some level of respect. It’s a benefit that people have without necessarily acknowledging it. And when you have privilege, use it to some benefit. Here Levinson uses his warmly and to broad effect.
Personal Privilege and True Tales From Tap City feels like a bit of a departure for Levinson. It’s a journey, less narratable thread than his other presentations, and more of a testing ground for new/old work. No two people will hear this show the same way. There is so much variety here. You will land on whatever part affects you most, whatever resonates.
In all though, the hour is filled with compelling and touching moments especially with the title song, Personal Privilege, a gorgeous ode to his daughter…“It’s a personal privilege of having 30 years of loving you.” (tear-jerker – YES!)
Many of the songs are recaps from earlier late night Sacred Fools Serial Killers, Fast and Loose, Summer Camp, Unchartables and Ten Tops series, and more… but they are as fresh and imbued with meaning today as they were first heard. Maybe even more considering THIS man looking back on his life with sometimes sentimental and occasionally remorseful melody. “I wrote seven songs about World War I. What does that say about ME?”
There is nothing like this offering at Fringe (so far as we know). Levinson’s stories are an encyclopedia of life that never get tiring in the experience. An hour spent in the melodic quietude and occasional hoopla of extremely intimate, unfrivolous simplicity.