Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: San Francisco/North Bay

Nikita Burshteyn: Livin' Nikita Loca
Review by Richard Connema | Season Schedule

Also see Richard's recent reviews of Stories by Emma Donoghue and Colm Tóibín, Macbeth, Hair and Dirty Dancing

Nikita Burshteyn, a rising singing star who has been appearing in such local musicals as Carrie, Catch Me If You Can, West Side Story and 42nd Street Moon's Do I Hear a Waltz? with Emily Skinner, recently made his cabaret debut at Martuni's, a popular place for young talent. A critic once said that when Nikita appeared as Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar "The show should be renamed Nikita Burshteyn Superstar."

The young 20 year old has a full-throated voice when singing and flawless vocal phrasing when belting out a song. His voice reminds me of Jonathan Groff's or that of a young Anthony Rapp. For his debut in cabaret, Burshteyn had guest stars Samantha Cardenas and Alex Rodriguez, who have appeared in numerous regional productions. Ben Prince provided great back-up on the piano.

In his relaxed manner, Nikita Burshteyn started his gig with a parody of himself called "Livin' Nikita Loca" and then went immediately into "You Don't Know Me," made famous by Ray Charles. The artist was sublime singing "Something's Coming" from West Side Story. He brought Samantha Cardenas up to the mike and they were harmoniously energizing singing "Say It Somehow" from Light in the Piazza. Samantha then did a stunning emotional solo with Alessia Cara's "Here."

Nikita returned to the mike to beautifully belt out "Heaven on Their Minds" from Jesus Christ Superstar. The vocalist informed the audience that he had a wish list of Broadway shows that he aspirated to do as he segued into a series of snippets of eight songs from show including Jersey Boys, The Phantom of the Opera, Hamilton and Wicked. He then moved smoothly into Michael Kooman and Christopher Dimond's "To Excess."

Nikita Burshteyn brought up his second guest of the evening, the multi-talented Alex Rodriquez, and they harmonized on "Who Will Love Me As I Am" from Side Show and then Alex took center stage and beautifully sang "Lost in the Wilderness" from Children of Eden. Nikita returned to the mike and rocked out "And the Rain Keeps Falling Down" from Elegies for Angels, Punks and Raging Queens and then he segued into his final song of the evening, "Goodbye" from Catch Me If You Can.

The fans gave him a cheering round of applause and he did an encore with a swinging version of "Feeling Good."

was presented at Martuni's, 4 Valencia St at Market Street, San Francisco, on February 28, 2016. For more information on Martuni's, visit

Nikita Burshteyn will be appearing in the 42nd Street Moon production of Rodgers and Hart's The Boys from Syracuse starting March 23.