Lee, Floyd perform at PhD Friday

Denise and GaryLast week, I wrote about the new gay-owned sports bar in Oak Cliff, PhD — it stands for Pour House Dallas — and how the bar had instituted live music on weekend nights. Well, one of those nights is this Friday! Best buds Denise Lee and Gary Lynn Floyd will perform together from 8–11 p.m. So enjoy some wings and beer, and maybe watch a game, while they treat you to some music. (They’ll also be the featured entertainment at the Bloomin’ Ball on Saturday.)

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Gary Floyd snags Hollywood award nom

Whenever you can get an award nomination out of Hollywood, it’s time to celebrate … even if it isn’t an Oscar, Grammy or Golden Globe. Still, Dallas’ Gary Lynn Floyd is pleased as punch that he was nominated for a Hollywood Music in Media Award as best male vocalist for his song “Unbound.” Anyone who’s seen Floyd perform knows that “Unbound” is one of his indisputable masterpieces, a soft, spiritual showcase for Floyd’s ethereal tenor.

He won’t find out if he won until next month, but whatever the result there, we already know he’s a winner.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Gary Lynn Floyd’s “Troubadour, TX” airs Sunday

Last November, we reported how local singer Gary Lynn Floyd was one of two dozen Texas-based musicians tapped to appear on a new reality series, Troubadour, TX, which follows them on their quest to make music. At the time, Floyd didn’t know if his segment would be one of the last of the fall season, or early in the spring season.

Turns out the latter.

Floyd’s segment of the series, which airs locally in Channel 21, will finally debut this Sunday at 10 p.m. As Floyd says, go ahead and watch the Grammys … just be sure to switch over to KTXA at 10 to see him.

Not a problem.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

REVIEW: ‘Rockin’ Christmas Party’

Denise Lee and Markus Lloyd in 'Rockin' Christmas Party.'

If a musical revue featuring a six-person ensemble and no real plot can have a star, then the star of Rockin’ Christmas Party — returning to WaterTower Theatre a decade after it first began a run as a holiday standard — is Markus Lloyd. Lloyd belts out Motown hits, croons on carols like “What Christmas Means to Me” and moves better than James Brown on “I Feel Good,” “Brickhouse” and “Love Shack.” With his deep voice and infectious energy, he puts the “rockin’” in the title — enough so, that you might not notice that the show itself is too cheesy by half.

Dave Steakley’s musical tour of the latter half of 20th century music with a seasonal theme has been a regional favorite for ages, and like similar shows — Forever Plaid comes to mind, as well as A Christmas Carol and The Nutcracker — it represents a tradition perhaps more honored in the breach than in the observance: Going might just be the thing to get you in the holiday mood, but it feels more like a routine than an inspiration.

This production plays to the actors’ strengths, although in that way, it’s predictable, even a bit dull. Jenny Thurman has played Patsy Cline many times; having her perform a medley of country songs with a Patsy twang is, at least, uninspired. (The songs selected are puzzling as well; story-ballads like “Harper Valley, P.T.A.” and “Ode to Billy Joe” have actual plots, so doing mash-ups that delete large parcels of lyric is a failure. It makes no sense to sing about “the day my mama socked it to” the P.T.A. without hearing what she did is ludicrous.)

Gary Lynn Floyd’s smooth tenor is a perfect match for the comforting sequence of TV Christmas special-like songs, and the theater rocks with gay pride during the disco sequence, which includes “I Will Survive,”  ”YMCA,” ”I’m Coming Out” and “It’s Raining Men” — it might as well have a drag queen leading the way. But that also raises a question: What about those songs says “Christmastime” to you? Only about a quarter of the musical numbers are actual carols — the rest are just retro doo-wop and rock songs. Fun, yes, but not really overflowing with holiday cheer. (How does “Movin’ On Up,” the theme from The Jeffersons, belong within three miles of this show?)

Neither do the costumes. Despite red and green velvets conjuring Santa’s elves, these creations, paired with unattractive wigs, detract from the spirit of the season more than complement it.  Thurman is clad in a petticoated prom dress that makes her look like a drag version of Lisa Lampanelli, and Sara Shelby-Martin comes out near the end in a get-up (including hat) that looks like a Pan Am stewardess wearing a sombrero designed in the Land of Oz.

None of that, of course, affects the singing, which is excellent. (On opening night, Amy Stevenson, one of the biggest-voiced of big-voiced singers in town, was clearly off her game, barely getting her songs out above a whisper.)  Rockin’ Christmas Party ends up as a show better listened to than watched — just like all those Andy Williams/Perry Como TV specials.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones