A badly needed four-week vacation followed by a busy week seeing five films a day at the Toronto International Film Festival has left me way behind in telling you about Michael Feinstein and Marilyn Maye’s tuneful contribution to the final season at Feinstein’s at Loew’s Regency. If you haven’t joined the party yet, there’s one more week to go. What are you waiting for? Read More
The dog days of summer get an extra spark with the arrival of Portland, Oregon-based singer Rebecca Kilgore at Feinstein’s at Loew’s Regency. Last year she celebrated the musical side of Marilyn Monroe. Now she calls her new show “The Jazzy Side of Judy Garland.” The lady has high ideals and lofty goals.
I didn’t know Judy had a jazzy side, but Ms. Kilgore proves it. Read More
Opening last month with brassy Patti LuPone and continuing now with the jazzy, undulating Terpsichore of Fosse-trained Ben Vereen, the new Broadway nightclub called Below 54 (so named because it is located in the subterranean “VIP room” below Studio 54, where all the X-rated drugs, depravity and fun took place in the good old days) still has kinks to iron out before it becomes the smash it deserves to be. Read More
Such a busy girl. After getting herself Tony-nominated for her starring role in the underrated—unfairly, I might add—Bonnie and Clyde, which, as it turned out, was one of the better musicals of the 2012 Broadway season, Laura Osnes starred in the Encores! production of Pipe Dream as well as a one-night concert version of The Sound of Music at Carnegie. Now she has brought her clarion voice and stunning beauty to the swanky Café Carlyle for a two-week cabaret debut (through June 30). All you have to do is hear her one time to understand why. Read More
Marilyn Maye has nothing on her mind but spreading joy. For a swinging broad of 84 (and I mean that in the best way), she also sings up a storm, but you already knew that. The joy is contagious, and she spreads it around like honey on toast. She calls her current show at Feinstein’s “The Happiest Sound in Town”—she’s not kidding. Read More
Warm as a cashmere muffler, relaxed as a happy kitten, and ready for an attack of total perfection, Barbara Cook’s new show at Feinstein’s at Loew’s Regency shows off the legendary singer in a more intimate light than ever. She calls this appearance “Let’s Fall in Love,” and for good reason. Spring is a time for love songs, so through April 21, she’s up to her Easter bonnet brim with them. And this is the first time she has ever selected the song list on her own, without the aid of a musical “boss,” and done the layouts and interpolations herself. The result is fresh and as personal as if you were spending an evening in her own living room while she pulled favorite tunes from her piano bench. I have never heard that magical voice more mercurial or sparkling with so much musical magic. Read More
I probably haven’t seen the worst cabaret act of all time, but after Nellie McKay at Feinstein’s, I have certainly seen the dopiest. Part naive, lyric-driven song parade and part ecology lecture on the rape of the environment, this curiosity is called Silent Spring—It’s Not Nice to Fool Mother Nature and it features the cute, sincere and woefully misguided actress-singer in the role of late environmentalist author Rachel Carson, who devoted her career to saving the planet from arrogant self-destruction. Ms. McKay is a gentle activist who loves dogs and flowers and everything green, attaching a few songs about nature to a rambling discourse about the dangers of pesticides, insecticides and other acrimonious environmental assaults. (It’s not a show you want to see on Valentine’s Day.) The musical interludes do little to alleviate the academic tedium generated by the disorganized patter wedged between them. One or two critics I respect have high regard for this girl, but all I can see is a vast need for improvement. Her heart may be in the right place, but frankly, this corny little act, which she has constructed from crêpe paper and good intentions, is something of a mess. Read More
There’s a ripe adjective to describe every flavored, favored aspect of Christine Ebersole’s versatility, and before she throws in the towel and does something besides entertain, like run for president, the critics will probably get around to using them all. For now, I can think of only one—sensational!
In her elegant, witty and intelligent new show at Café Carlyle, she serves up a thoughtful, incisive master class in how to enhance cabaret and keep it alive with fresh new insights that should be required viewing by aspiring performers everywhere. She calls it “The End of the World as We Know It.” I call it “Christine Ebersole Sings the Apocalypse.” She does it with such panache that the swinging Matt Dennis evergreen “Show Me the Way to Get Out of This World” has never been more relevant. When she shakes her saffron yellow curls and smiles her survival grin in Technicolor, she makes the end of the old world, the beginning of a new one, and everything in between seem as rare and giddy as a Disney cow. Read More
Rhythm and bounce, tempo and pounce. Petula Clark has lost none of her fizz. Her warm, engaging new act at Feinstein’s at Loew’s Regency is the first time she’s appeared in a New York nightclub since the dear, departed and much-lamented days of the Waldorf-Astoria’s Empire Room. That was 1975, after she had already moved to Switzerland to get away from the punishing rigors of show business and escape the taxes, but she hasn’t been sitting around her home in Geneva knitting mittens. Read More
Opening-night jitters threatened temporarily to diminish the vocal capacities of Paulo Szot in his new cabaret act at the Café Carlyle. The first four numbers, all part of a well-deserved celebration of the 100th birthday year of composer Burton Lane, suffered from pitch problems. Then something clicked and the romantic Brazilian baritone, who won a Tony for his starring role in South Pacific at Lincoln Center, grew more at ease. As his voice gained strength, his vocal resources increased and so did his artistry. The rest of the show, which runs through Jan. 28, was pure delight. Read More