So, when it came time to mount his first-ever solo show, the Australian actor-singer wanted to meld his theatrical chops with his admiration for the undisputed Queen of Pop, Madonna. He’s set to bring his award-winning cabaret act, “In Vogue: Songs By Madonna,” to the U.S. this winter, with a series of performances at venues in California and New York.
Accompanying himself on piano, Griffiths will re-interpret the diva’s classic hits, including “Borderline,” “Express Yourself” and “Into The Groove.” Embodying the spirit of the Material Girl herself, he’ll also explore some of her well-known personal dramas, like her tumultuous marriages and checkered movie career, albeit in a cheeky (and heartfelt) way.
Before his Jan. 26 stateside debut in San Diego, the 42-year-old Adelaide, Australia native gave The Huffington Post a sneak peek, performing snippets of Madonna’s oeuvre in the video above. While “In Vogue” hinges on the conceit that Griffiths is Madonna, the show is not intended as a camp homage or celebrity impersonation act. Instead, he said, “It’s a testament to her skill as a pop artist and her longevity.”
Three decades into her record-breaking career, Madonna still battles criticism of her skills both as a singer-songwriter and live performer. In Griffiths’s eyes, many critics are misguided in their assessments of the superstar’s “take-it-or-leave-it” approach to music, which has been mimicked by Lady Gaga, Rihanna and other stars.
“I feel like she’s not given enough credit for being a kickass songwriter, partly because the rest of her career is always so distracting,” he said. Naming “Open Your Heart” as his favorite Madonna song, he added, “She has always been impossibly strong and impossibly fragile in equal measure.”
Michael Griffiths performs “In Vogue: Songs By Madonna” at Martinis Above Fourth in San Diego, California on Jan. 26, before heading to Catalina Jazz Club in Los Angeles on Jan. 29 and New York’s Feinstein’s/54 Below on Feb. 7. For further dates, head here.