San Francisco's American Conservatory Theater will present Kiki & Herb: Alive on Broadway, created and performed by Justin Bond and Kenny Mellman, July 13 through July 29.
"Kiki & Herb: Alive on Broadway is the latest acclaimed cabaret performance featuring Kiki and Herb, the infamous duo created by Justin Bond and Kenny Mellman, who began performing together almost 20 years ago after meeting at a San Francisco nightclub. The fictional biography follows that Kiki (the 'boozy chanteusy') was born during the Great Depression and was living in an orphanage in western Philadelphia when she met her partner, accompanist, and 'only living friend,' Herb. The duo recount some favorite reminiscences from their heyday (including playing both Monte Carlo in the 1960s and 'The Love Boat' in the 1980s) while they deliver rowdy and robust reinterpretations of music from pop acts new and old, including Gnarls Barkley, Elliot Smith, Dan Fogelberg, Public Enemy, The Cure, and more. Along the way, Kiki regales the audience with grand delusions and self-indulgent asides that take on a wide range of subjects from motherhood to gay marriage to presidential politics," state A.C.T. notes.
After performing on and off as Kiki & Herb for more than 20 years, Justin Bond and Kenny Mellman have kept the duo alive both as an act of cultural preservation and political defiance. In a 2006 interview with Backstage East magazine, Bond said, "For us, we're taking a genre we believe in-cabaret-and maintaining it in a world that doesn't find it relevant. It had a political context in Germany and early on in New York. For here we are, living in a world in which humanity's future is imperiled by choices based on philosophies that would be completely exorcised by a fifth-grade education."
In addition to last year's Kiki & Herb: Alive on Broadway and 2004's Kiki & Herb Will Die For You at Carnegie Hall, Justin Bond and Kenny Mellman have been tearing up stages everywhere since 1989 as Kiki & Herb. In May 2003, they opened to critical acclaim in Off-Broadway's Kiki & Herb: Coup de Théatre, which played a 5-month run at the Cherry Lane Theatre. Their better-known previous installments include the OBIE Award-winning Kiki & Herb: Jesus Wept and Kiki & Herb: There's a Stranger in the Manger. Beyond New York, they toured with Pardon Our Appearance and Where Are We Now? They returned to London with Kiki & Herb: There's a Stranger in the Manger and also played aboard the HMS President in the River Thames with Kiki & Herb Mount The President. Bond and Mellman have collaborated as Kiki & Herb on a variety of performances with such artists as Rufus Wainwright, Debbie Harry, Julian Fleisher, Sandra Bernhard, Mike Patton, and the Scissor Sisters. Kiki & Herb recordings include "Kiki & Herb: Do You Hear What We Hear" and "Kiki & Herb Will Die for You at Carnegie Hall."
Tickets-starting at $13--go on sale February 1 via A.C.T. Ticket Services at 415.749.2228 or online at www.act-sf.org. Kiki & Herb: Alive on Broadway is made possible in part by producers Jonathan Reinis, Inc., David J. Foster, Jared Geller, Ruth Hendel, Billy Zavelson, Jamie Cesa, Anne Strickland Squadron, and Jennifer Manocherian; and associate producers Gary Allen & Melvin Honowitz.
Photo by Ben Strothmann - Kenny Mellman as Herb and Justin Bond as Kiki