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Ship Shape

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Singing on cruise ships for 13 years would make anyone pine for home. Go ahead and ask Gerry Keating at his weekly gig at the Waterbury Coach House tonight. While he can regale you with tales of sailing from Singapore to South America, the 55-year-old jazzman is quite happy to be back on land. "When I started on the cruise ships, it was the last form of vaudeville," he says. "The ships were smaller, and they did variety-type shows for the passengers. Now the ships are so big, the shows are like those in Vegas."

Keating prefers the Waterbury's intimate corner stage, where he puts his rich baritone to work on jazz, country, and show tunes. He's always accompanied by a keyboardist and occasionally joined by a saxophonist. Keating invites audience members to join him on the mic for an impromptu sing-along, and during breaks, lets them tell jokes. "If the people are there to eat and relax, you don't want to attack them with loud music," he says. "If they're ready to party, you figure out what they want to hear."
Wednesdays, 6-10 p.m., 2006

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