Written by Joan Stevenson—
If you’re looking for an interesting evening of fun, and exciting New York cabaret style entertainment right here in the Motor City, look no further than The Dynamic Duo, who are lighting up The New Menjo’s Complex. This duo of “divas” entertains bi-weekly with a potpourri of musical theatre, jazz, Disney, and pop music, and if you’re so inclined, you can join them to add your voice to the festivities. I sat down to chat with The Dynamic Duo’s Eric Swanson and Gerrianne Ditto-Harvey to find out what makes them so fabulous!
How did you two meet?
Eric: We met in college, now over a decade ago. We were both in the Adrian College Music Department and we just clicked early on.
Detroit is not really known for this kind of cabaret-style entertainment. What influenced you to put this kind of act together?
E: I was in New York City for an event and afterward I joined some friends down at the famous Marie’s Crisis. If you don’t know that bar, it’s very popular amongst Broadway/TV actors. It is a place to just go and sing loud along with a crowd to your favorite tunes. I remember thinking that this model could work very well in the Metro Detroit area! We have such a huge performing arts community that is not only talented, but rich in musical theatre and pop knowledge. So I came home and threw the idea out to Gerianne.
Gerianne: I suggested we do it as a duo act and do a combo of singing ourselves, leading the crowd, and even mixing up the type of repertoire (i.e. musical theatre, Disney, and pop). To be honest, we had wanted to do a duo act for some time and this time around, it just seemed right!
When did you start working together? What other projects have you been involved with?
G: We started working professionally together on Adrian College’s Broadway Revue, which held the record for the highest student led fundraiser for many years. We began doing a lot of charity events donating our time to organizations we wanted to support. Over the subsequent years we have worked together when Eric was a teacher at The Roeper School, collaborated on several musical theatre productions both community and professional, and still serve as directors for the Detroit Actor’s Theatre Company.
Tell me a little about your involvement with the vocal band Motif.
E: We started the group 4 years ago. It originally started as a touring musical theatre group with 24 people in it. Over the years it morphed into a smaller and smaller group, and it eventually became what it is together, a top 40 cover band. As is true with a lot of things, it takes time for creative things to take their true form and Motif was no exception. We are very happy with the band today, happy with the gigs we get, and most importantly happy with the music we make. People can visit our website at www.motifband.weebly.com to check us out!
So what can the audience expect at a Dynamic Duo show? What do you guys do?
G: Audiences can expect to hear a lot of their favorite songs, like “Under the Sea,” “Oh, What a Beautiful Morning,” “Defying Gravity,” and “Alone by Heart.” They can also expect see us flex our own vocal muscles and show them our stuff too!
E: The best shows are when audience members get up to the guest mic and sing a duet with one of us, or even play diva tag with us! We also use the mic to share our funny moments together and keep the audience engaged.
How did you begin your partnership with Menjo’s?
E: That is an odd story. When they say this world is small, they mean it. We were at karaoke at Mr. B’s in Royal Oak where our dear friend Julie hosts every week. A lot of the Motif singers were there and so was a big group from the theatre company. We were singing our hearts out when a guy came up to me and said, “Who are you guys? I gotta get you in my bar, Menjo’s”. One thing lead to another and time just slipped away from us. Fast forward to 6 months later and we find his number in one of our phones. We call it and mention who we are again and the rest was history! Moral of the story is, you never know who is in the crowd or when someone might spot you and express interest!
What are your plans for the future?
G: The Dynamic Duo is developing still. We value attendance each show because those people help us see what works and what doesn’t. For example, it was a crowd member who requested some more pop music, so we decided to make it a broader repertoire show! Audiences have also been very receptive to some of our stand up and original compositions. We are both developing new original songs that are sure to make you laugh! A year from now we would love to be doing some guest appearances on cruise ships, particularly in the Great Lakes. We would also welcome additional bookings at restaurants and cabarets in the Detroit area.
E: In closing, we would just add that future shows will be themed, like “Christmas Sing-along”, “Boy band night”, and many more. We love to keep it interesting and engaging for our audiences.
Dynamic Duo shows at The New Menjo’s Complex are free and open to 21+. To find out when the Dynamic Duo is performing and to check out videos of past shows, Make sure to like them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/DynamicDuoAct .