By William Wolf

ADRIENNE HAAN BRINGS THE WORLD ON STAGE IN TEN LANGUAGES  Send This Review to a Friend

Cabaret star Adrienne Haan believes in building international harmony through song and she dynamically illustrated her point in her show at the Triad last night (July 31). While presidential candidates were debating in Detroit about international relations, Haan was on stage energetically singing in ten languages that reflect her world view and travels as a performer. Her generous hour and one half program was presented with her customary high spirits and integration with her audience that once again demonstrated that she is in my opinion the top modern all-around cabaret entertainer above and beyond ability as a songstress.

This time she made her entrance wearing a sexy outfit consisting of a black top and black shorts covered with sparkling silvery mesh from neck to toe. It never takes long for Haan to personally connect with the crowd, which was already clapping along as she opened with “Willkommen” and “Cabaret” from “Cabaret” (Kander and Ebb), followed by her rousing interpretation of “New York, York New York” (also Kander and Ebb). Haan cements her relationship by sometimes moving teasingly among attendees and singing directly to them.

Accomplished in acting out lyrics with style and movement, including a wiggle here and there, Haan might also succeed at standup comedy if she chose. Her recounting of an episode when she sang in China was completely hilarious. She described getting up in the morning and recoiling at finding chicken feet on the hotel breakfast menu, which sent her scurrying to a nearby Starbucks. Unfortunately, that day she was hit with a bad case of diarrhea. She described going to a drug store where nobody spoke English, and acted out her motions attempting to show a rush out of her derriere to get the personnel to recognize her predicament and describe the right medication.

After having everyone laughing uproariously, Haan proceeded to sing a Chinese 19th century folk song in Mandarin, which she had studied for the occasion. The number was titled “Mo li hua” (“Yasmin Flower Song”).

Haan, whose origins stem from Germany and Luxembourg, also achieved hilarity by singing a renowned “Mary Poppins” number in German. The title mouthful is “Superkalifragilistischexpialigorisch.” You have to hear it to believe it.

Haan provided another example of her ability to sing in German with a number she plucked from a 1931 German film called, “The Man Who Is Looking for His Murderer.” The song’s title is “Wenn Ich Mir Was Wünschen Dürfte” (Friedrich Hollaender).

She does especially well in French, giving her own brand of intensity to both the popular “La vie en rose” (Luis Guglielmi) and “Milord” (George Moustaki), the second inducing more clapping from the audience.

“Bokserboym” (“Carob Tree” by Chava Alberstein) was sung in Yiddish, and Haan also sang a number in Hebrew, “Rikmah Ensoshit Achat” (“One Human Tissue” by Moti Hamer), dedicated to Holocaust Remembrance Day. Haan’s Spanish contribution was her take on the popular “Besame Mucho” (Consuelo Valázquez).

Describing her trip to Sweden, she launched into a number in Swedish, “Gabriellas Sång,” from the Swedish movie “As It Is in Heaven.” Haan even studied some Turkish to be able to sing “Yigidim Aslanim,” written by Zülfü Livaneli in tribute to Mustaf Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the Republic of Turkey and its first president. Not to ignore Italian, Haan wistfully sang “Con te partirò” (“Time to Say Goodby”).

Of course, she also showed her way with lively interpretations of Americna theater classics—the lilting “So in Love” (Cole Porter) from “Kiss Me Kate” and “You Can Always Count on Me” (David Zippel and Cy Coleman) from “City of Angels” For her encore, grounded solidly in the tradition of Broadway, she served up a lively medley from shows by Jerome Kern, Oscar Hammerstein, Cole Porter and George Gershwin.

After expending so much vibrancy and energy in giving last night’s audience her solid and super-friendly show, Haan announced—one might have guessed--that she was leaving Sunday on another international tour before returning to New York to do her Christmas show. Bon voyage. At the Triad Theater, 158 West 72nd Street. Phone: 212-279-4200.

NICOLE HENRY'S LOVE FEST AT DIZZY'S  Send This Review to a Friend

Superb singer Nicole Henry named her program at Dizzy’s at Jazz at Lincoln Center “Where Love Is.” There was plenty about love in her songs, and there was also well-earned audience love for Henry herself, given her appealing way with music and lyrics in her chosen repertoire for her two-night gig (May 29 and 30).

What’s more, there was the attraction of her terrific backup band. David Rosenthal contributed elegant solos on guitar. Richie Goods on bass, Shedrick Mitchell on piano and Kendrick Scott on drums also had their entertaining moments in the spotlight. The excellent blend between Henry and her musicians added impact to numbers chosen.

Henry has a smooth-as-silk musical style that first establishes intimacy with her audience, and then she edges ahead as she escalates with her vocal power. She looks great (this time clad in a clinging dress attractively patterned in red and black) and she moves scintillatingly when listening to a musician’s solo, as well as using body language to emphasize particular lyrics.

The fact that her chosen songs were all about love offered the opportunity to pour out her heart and soul, sometimes with easygoing tenderness and at other moments with impassioned vigor. Her versatile voice accommodates whatever mood she is attempting to project.

Her opener was “Almost Like Being in Love” (music by Frederick Loewe and Alan Jay Lerner), which she charged up dramatically. Her “Wild is the Wind” (Dimitri Tiomkin and Ned Washington) had intricate emotional appeal. In her rendition of “Don’t Take Your Love From Me” (Henry Nemo), Henry projected tender pleading. There was a thoughtful mood in her interpretation of “What’ll I Do?” by Irving Berlin, which she introduced with an account of Berlin falling in love. Henry did quite a few informational introductions which explained reasons for her choices. She also gave a fresh, moving rendition of “I Didn’t Know What Time It Was” by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart. Henry turned intriguingly pensive in singing “All My Tomorrows” by Jimmy van Heusen and Sammy Cahn.

Another strong point is Henry’s ability to have fun with a song. “Joe” enabled her to look at a guy who may be acceptable as an experience but is basically a jerk not meant for a serious relationship. Another in a similar vein was “Until It’s Time for You to Go” (Buffy Saint-Marie) about relations with a man until a woman decides to get him out of her life.

When Henry sang “That’s All” (Genesis), she infused it with total commitment, and a jazzy take at full strength to convey giving everything to love. In “Save Your Love for Me” (Johnny and Sue Edward) she reached passionate intensity. In a complete change of tone, Henry did as her encore “Great is Thy Faithfulness,” a hymn, which has words by Thomas Crisholm and music provided much later by William M. Runyan. There was a gospel-like aura to this triumphant conclusion.

I had recently enjoyed Henry in a stint as part of the latest “Broadway by the Year” concert at the Town Hall (See Search and Theater) and welcomed the opportunity to catch her in a show of her own. The experience at Dizzy’s underscored why Henry is such a superior cabaret artist. In one of her introductions she made a point of saying how inspired she has been by the late Nancy Wilson. Yes, there is a similarity in style, and Henry is coming out with a CD that celebrates Wilson. At Dizzy’s at Jazz at Lincoln Center, Broadway at 60th Street. Phone: 22-258-9595. Reviewed May 31, 2019.

ADRIENNE HAAN'S NEW 'BERLIN,MON AMOUR' HIT SHOW  Send This Review to a Friend

Superb international chanteuse Adrienne Haan can always surprise me. Last night (May 22), when she made her appearance on stage at the Triad, she wore a black top hat and a wine-colored tux with tails, striking a dramatic pose that signaled her new show, “Berlin, Mon Amour” would be fun. Indeed it is, sometimes in provocatively unexpected ways, and it emerges as the most unusual cabaret show in New York at the moment.

The theme is celebrating the centennial of the democratic Weimar Republic, which flourished in the 1920s and early 1930s. When Hitler took over Germany many of the songs were banned because of their rebellious content of feminism, sexual liberation and trans-gender portrayal, or because of being written by Jewish composers. In the Weimar period the cabaret scene flourished in Berlin with an anything-goes aura, and great songs emerged from composers of the day, many of the numbers penetrating and sassy in satirizing life and prejudices of the time.

The big surprise in Haan’s latest clever and entertaining Weimar tribute, performed as if in Berlin’s Wintergarten Theatre, is the addition of a special guest--beautiful, dark-haired French cabaret artist Magali Dahan. The two are sensational in their duets, and voilá, at one point they illustrate what might have occurred in the free-spirited Weimar cabaret world when Haan and Dahan sing as lesbian lovers, sexily tongue-kissing and also with a hand gently passing over a private area. It’s surprising to behold, and the two performers make the most of the love-charged moments.

The show is packed with superb numbers, some sung in German, some in English and some in both. Haan opens with the feminist “Chuck Out the Men” (“Raus Mit Den Männern”), written by Friedrich Hollaender.

There is the sexy “I Am a Vamp” (“Ich Bin Ein Vamp”), a number by Mischa Spoliansky and Marcellus Schiffer. Another song with sex appeal is “Naughty Lola,” (“Fesche Lola”), by Hollaender, who also composed the dreamy “Falling in Love Again,” with the mouthful German title, “Ich Bin Von Kopf Bis FuB Auf Liebe Eigestellt.” That number gives Haan the opportunity to convincingly slide into her Marlene Dietrich mode, a perfect blend with the period being portrayed.

Other songs with a bite include taking apart the sexual divide in “Masculin/Feminin” (Maskulinum/Femininum”), by Spoliansky, and also “Abortion Is Illegal,” by two of the era’s greats, Hanns Eisler and Bertolt Brecht. There are many more appealing renditions, and, of course, no program like this could not feature “Lili Marleen.”

Haan indulges amusingly in her trademark sauntering among audience members, and, of course, picking out a few men on whom to shower affection. Dahan also does the same—I was one of her targets on opening night. The gambit extends the fun in a tasteful but not intrusive way.

It is a smart move on Haan’s part to introduce Dahan to New York audiences. Dahan sings excitingly and flashes sexy stage movement that blends well with Haan’s mischievous acting style. Haan in her musical number not only honors the Weimar era but makes you accept the illusion that she has become part of it.

“Berlin, Mon Amour” features the invaluable, skillful work at the piano by Haan’s long-time musical director, Richard Danley, and the show has been directed by Barry Kleinbort and produced by Peter Martin and Joseph Barry.

The result is a solid treat, and happily, you will still have the chance to see it. “Berlin, Mon Amour” is being repeated on May 29 and June 5. At the Triad, 158 West 72nd Street. Phone: 212-279-4200. Reviewed May 23, 2019.

ADRIENNE HAAN RETURNS WITH CAPTIVATING KURT WEILL SALUTE  Send This Review to a Friend

Having so enjoyed international chanteuse Adrienne Haan singing a program dedicated to the works of Kurt Weill in 2017 (See Search and Cabaret for review), I was eager to attend her reprise of the show in a new engagement, this time last night at The Triad (March 27, 2019). It turned out to be another supreme evening with Haan again demonstrating why she should be acclaimed as the first lady of cabaret today.

Dazzling looking in a black silk tuxedo, Haan immediately took command with her interpretation of “My Ship” from the Broadway show “Lady in the Dark.” The production projected musical weight, because Haan had strong accompaniment by a six-piece group, with her long-time musical director Richard Danley at the piano along with the Novembergruppe Quintet, including band leader Dan Levinson on clarinet, alto saxophone; Jonathan David Russell, violin; Vinny Raniolo, guitar and banjo; Jared Engel, bass and tuba, and Mike Campenni, drums. The combination provides extra oomph to back up Haan’s singing, in contrast to some singers accompanied by just a piano and bass. This is serious stuff.

One thing about Haan is that she projects so much enthusiasm into the songs that flow from her, and also that she is such a skillful actress in delivering lyrics that you get the impression she is having a grand time and wants to be sure you share it with her. She makes you feel that she probably has about a thousand more songs ready to unfurl, which, if you have followed her, is reflected in her variety of program themes. All this, of course, takes meticulous preparation.

Haan dispenses lots of information about Weill, whose career was cut short when he died in 1950 at the age of 50. She covers his German period (Haan is also from Germany), his fleeing from the Nazi regime, and his re-establishing himself in the United States and catching the spirit of musical theater here.

Haan spans the territory. One may have heard “Pirate Jenny” from “The Threepenny Opera” many times, but Haan brings new color and terror to that number. In contrast, she can be very funny singing “The Saga of Jenny” from the Broadway show “Lady In the Dark,” a number about the gal named Jenny, who couldn’t make up her mind and “in twenty-seven languages she couldn’t say no.”

There is, of course, “Mack the Knife,” or “Die Moritat von Mackie Messer” as it is called in Germany, another from “The Threepenny Opera.” Her accent was very funny when she introduced Weill’s “Alabama Song,” mimicking what the state sounded like to her—Alabaaaama—when she visited there.

There were so many treats in her program, including “Surabaya Johnny” from “Happy End,” “Speak Low” from “One Touch of Venus,” and the poignant “I’m a Stranger Here Myself,” also from “One Touch of Venus,” among many other selections, whether reflecting Weill’s collaboration with Bertolt Brecht or his other musical ventures.

Haan likes to at some point stroll among audience members. She’ll address a lyric to someone in particular, or muss up gentleman’s hair. It’s part of her intimate approach and doesn’t come across as corny, as can be the case with some who try this.

The show was directed by Barry Kleinbort. Haan is now an entertainer in residence at The Triad. Her next show is May 22, 7 p.m and called “Berlin, Mon Amour,” created to celebrate the 100th centennial of the Weimar Republic. At The Triad, 158 West 72nd Street. Phone: 212-362-2590. Reviewed March 28, 2019.

CONSTANT HONORS AZNAVOUR  Send This Review to a Friend

Renowned singer, lyricist, actor and French icon Charles Aznavour died in France in October, 2018 at the age of 94, but after the initial obituaries, he was not properly honored in the New York cabaret world. Chanteuse Yvonne Constant has stepped into the breach at Don’t Tell Mama with her affectionate tribute titled “Aznavour as is. ” Two performances have already occurred on January 17th and 25th, and there is another that one can still catch at 7 p.m. on January 31st.

Joining in the program dedicated to the Aznavour is Russ Kassoff, Constant’s pianist and musical director, with whom she has had a working relationship over many years. There is a logical connection in the show, as Constant knew and admired Aznavour, who was championed by her as he worked to achieve his illustrious career. The tone of the performance is primarily intimate and chatty, with information dispensed along with the music.

In the course of remarks Constant makes, she recalls how Johnny Carson, who repeatedly booked Constant on his show in the years after she performed on Broadway in “La Plume de Ma Tante,” didn’t know who Aznavour was when he visited the U.S. and asked Constant about him. She responded with a briefing and recommendation.

As for Kassoff, he had occasion to work with Aznavour, as reflected in a projected photograph. He was a pianist and musical director for Aznavour on various occasions, the last in 1999 at the opening of the Hotel Paris Las Vegas when he conducted and played for Aznavour, with accompaniment by Michel Legrand and a full orchestra. Kassoff gets a spot in the program to talk about Aznavour, emphasized with playing different numbers on different nights.

Constant begins her tribute with an array of images reflecting Aznavour’s extraordinary life and career. He has been credited with writing more than 1200 songs, and recording more than 1000. Her program highlights numbers in some way associated with him, both in French and English. She does this in an informal manner, and on the night I attended (January. 25) let the capacity audience in on the cabaret notables attending, introducing KT Sullivan, Mark Nadler, Steve Ross and Richard Holbrook.

Constant selects and sings numerous songs for which Aznavour wrote music or lyrics or both. Her opening number is “Emmenez Moi” (music and lyrics by Aznavour). She also sings “You’ve Let Yourself Go” (Music by Aznavour, English lyrics by Fred Ebb). She puts special feeling into “Que c’est triste Venise” (music by Aznavour), lyrics by Francoise Durin).

Constant is best when she sings with force, as with “La Boheme” (music by Aznavour, lyrics by Jacques Plante), and with her encore number, “Yesterday When I Was Young” (music and French lyrics by Aznavour, English lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer).

Although the emphasis is on Aznavour’s work, it was deemed fitting for Constant to sing a few non-Aznavour numbers to further capture the spirit of French hits known to international audiences. In that spirit, Constant sings “Non, je ne regrette rien” and “Milord,” both associated with Edith Piaf. At Don’t Tell Mama, 343 West 46th Street. Phone: 212-575-0788. Reviewed January 27, 2019.

ADRIENNE HAAN SINGS BERLIN  Send This Review to a Friend

International cabaret artist Adrienne Haan has demonstrated her skill with a repertoire that has included songs of the Weimar Republic in Germany and popular French classics. In her latest show at the Triad in New York ( December 7 and 10) she goes very American in her salute to the music and lyrics of Irving Berlin in her program called “White Christmas at the Triad” and flashes her skill in interpreting the hits of America’s most prolific composer.

She has a strong accomplice—Richard Danley, her longtime associate as musical director and pianist. They work ever-so smoothly together, whether Danley is superbly complementing her on the keyboard or on occasion joining in the vocals.

As usual, Haan, a favorite entertainer of mine, lights up the room--it was packed on the opening night when I attended-- with her effervescent personality and ability to connect with her audience, whether by strolling among the spectators or connecting with her crystal clear delivery of lyrics.

Haan ranges over an array of hits by Berlin, interspersed with comments from a script written by Laurence Pierron that recalls his history as the Jewish immigrant from Russia who came to write such iconic songs as “White Christmas” and “God Bless America,” both of which Haan sings with panache.

She opens with a zesty “There’s No Business Like Show Business” from the 1946 Broadway musical “Annie Get Your Gun” and proceeds to highlight different sides to Berlin’s accomplishments. For example, he wrote a number stressing America’s welcoming of immigrants, “Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor” from the 1949 musical “Miss Liberty.” (Nostalgia in the age of Trump?)

Haan puts zing into Berlin’s 1977 “Alexander’s Ragtime Band.” She reflects the contributions Berlin made to Hollywood musicals and Broadway with a medley of “Blue Skies,” “They Say It’s Wonderful,” “Cheek to Cheek” and “I’ve Got the Sun in the Morning.”

In 1926 on the wedding day of Berlin’s marriage to Ellin McKay, he wanted to present her with a musical gift. He gave her “Always,” a beautiful love song that Haan sings emotionally as if she were the giver.

Haan also dipped into songs Berlin wrote with a nod to the military—“This is the Army Mr. Jones” and “Oh How I Hate to Get Up in the Morning.” Very funny is the odd “I Paid My Income Tax Today.”

Haan’s excavation into the treasure trove provided by Berlin has been produced by Peter Martin. At the Triad, 158 West 72nd Street. Reviewed December 9, 2018.

ADRIENNE HAAN AND BIG BAND GIVE ROUSING SHOW TO ENTHUSIASTIC CROWD AT JOE'S PUB  Send This Review to a Friend

I have watched Adrienne Haan perform in various venues, but last night (October 17, 2018) she illuminated Joe’s Pub with a spectacular, larger-than-life performance that wowed an enthusiastic crowd. It was an extra dynamic show, with Haan backed by the excellent big band, Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks, consisting of 11 musicians for the occasion, and Haan’s long-time colleague, pianist Richard Danley, as musical director. Haan is an entertainer who can thrive in tandem with a huge sound, and she proved that the combination is potent.

The theme of her show—Haan is fond of choosing themes—was “Voluptuous Weimer—A Tribute to Berlin’s Golden Age.” The singer grew up in Germany, so she is well-versed in the country’s musical history. She sang in a mix of German and English, providing translation when needed.

Haan was a knockout in a clinging and sparkling red mini with fringe, and uninhibited on stage, she moves seductively as she shakes and shimmies to the rhythms. She has the flair of an actress, with an array of expressions that accent her lively eyes, and of course, there is the quality voice that she can apply to a wide range of songs.

Her program highlighted numbers that were popular in the days of the Weimer Republic that came on the heels of the end of World War I. Cynicism was there in “It’s All a Swindle.” Saucy sensuality was projected in “Sex Appeal.” The popular film “The Blue Angel” yielded “They Call Me Naughty Lola,” and “Falling in Love Again,” and Haan made the most of them. She also turned on the sensuality with appropriate body language as she sang “ I am a Vamp.”

Haan sang what she said was popular among women of the period--“Johnny.” She also noted that American songs were catching attention, and as examples she sang Irving Berlin’s “Blue Skies” and “Cheek to Cheek,” plus Cole Porter’s “Night and Day,” demonstrating that she could be impressive with American songbook numbers as well as those rooted in Germany.

According to Haan, although under the Nazis American popular music was looked upon as decadent, young people gathered secretly to dance to the songs that they admired. Thus she launched into the example of “Sing Sing Sing” as adapted by Benny Goodman. The Nighthawks tore loose on that one, making Joe’s Pub jump as Haan sang, band members soloed, and Haan enthusiastically introduced musicians who stood out. She gives the impression of rooting for her musicians and makes a point of giving them enthusiastic introductions.

Other numbers in Haan’s repertoire included “Bei Mir Bistu Schein” in a tribute to the Andrews Sisters. The program included the romantic “These Foolish Things” and the lively “Puttin’ on the Ritz.” For her encore, she noted the importance of getting along together in the world today, and sang what she called an anthem of the European Union, “Lili Marleen.”

Haan holds a unique position as a classic chanteuse with modern trimmings. She comes on like a whirlwind, never lets up and has an ability to connect with an audience. When she strolls through the crowd singling out men or women to cozy up to, she is engaging rather than crass.

The Joe’s Pub show proved that she has the power to sing with a big band behind her and still stand out. Maybe it’s the band that needs the power to stand out along with her singing. At Joe’s Pub, 425 Lafayette Street. Reviewed October 18, 2018.

STUNNING ARRAY OF TALENT HIGHLIGHTS 29TH ANNUAL NEW YORK CABARET CONVENTION  Send This Review to a Friend

For four consecutive nights (October 9-12, 2018) the Mabel Mercer Foundation’s 29th annual New York Cabaret Convention, showcased an impressive lineup of talent, a mix of icons of the cabaret world and newcomers deserving to become stars. The plentiful talent stands in contrast to the limited performing venues available and makes one long for more opportunities.

I attended both the opening and closing nights and thrilled to many of the performances at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Rose Hall. The opening night was dubbed “Cabaret Today!” Closing night was subtitled “The Night They Invented Champagne: The Lyrics of Alan Jay Lerner,” with Lerner numbers filling the entire bill.

KT Sullivan, noted cabaret artist, elegantly dressed, including wearing one of her colorful trademark hats, hosted opening night, and of course also sang, giving an exquisite rendition of “All the Things You Are.” But the evening’s opening numbers were by the renowned mother-son team. Pianist Bill Charlap played “Tea for Two,” and then introduced his mother, Sandy Stewart, still in fine voice with “Remind Me” and “After You.”

One of my favorite cabaret artists is Carole J. Bufford, who always looks great on stage and has a gift for interpreting lyrics with flair. She gave a sexy, defiant performance of “All By Myself,” and also teamed with Eric Yves Garcia in a medley of “Come Dance With Me,” “I Could Have Danced All Night” and “Sway.” Garcia impressed with what he called a Bobby Short medley in tribute to the late star.

Other standouts included Danny Bacher exuberantly singing “Hooray for Hollywood;” Todd Murray showing leading man quality with the demanding “Some Enchanted Evening” and “This Nearly Was Mine;” Dawn Derow making “White Cliffs of Dover” newly fresh; Karen Oberlin excellently singing “No More;” Marissa Mulder impressively performing “Love;” Corinna Sowers Adler soaring with the challenging “Glitter and Be Gay,"`1 and Anna Bergman and Todd Murray teaming delightfully on “So In Love.”

Among others distinguishing the program were Gregory Generet, Dorian Woodruff, Meg Flather, Joie Bianco, Gustavo Palma, Paula Dione Ingram, Marcus Lovett. David Baida, Nancy McGraw, and Jaedyn Hanna. Piano accompanists for the various acts included Alex Rybeck, Jon Weber, James Horan, Tracy Stark, Ian Herman, and Mark Nadler. Band members included Steve Doyle on bass and Rob Garcia on drums.

The closing night turned out to be a special dazzler. It was co-hosted by stars Andrea Marcovicci and Jeff Harnar, who turned out to be model hosts. They introduced performers with enthusiasm and clarity, and, naturally, also performed. Together they sang “You’re All the World to Me,” “I Remember It Well,” and “The Night They Invented Champagne.” Marcovicci soloed with “Mr. Right” and Harner soloed with “Come Back to Me.” But before the hosts took over, Stearns Matthews got the show underway with a superb rendition of “On a Clear Day.”

If one were to award a show-stealer prize for the night, it would have to go to Mark Nadler, flamboyant as always. Nadler mentioned that Alan Jay Lerner was intensely political and always a Democrat (audience applause here). Nadler then provided the night’s wittiest line: “If Lerner were alive today he’d be glad he was dead.”

Nadler told of an unfinished work on which Lerner was collaborating with Burton Lane—a musical version of the film “My Man Godfrey.” Then, according to the setting of down-and-outs, Nadler played the piano and sang “Garbage,” including the lyric “Garbage isn’t what it used to be.” And Nadler even tap-danced.

Competing in the show-stealing department was the venerable Sidney Myer, who gave an introduction in his typically wry, devil-may-care, sophisticated, above-it all manner before singing sarcastically, “I’m Glad I’m Not Young Anymore.”

Long favorites of mine, the ever-delightful married team of pianist-singer Eric Comstock and vocalist Barbara Fasano made a substantial contribution with “Another Autumn,” “Too Late Now,” “She Wasn’t You,” and “Lusty Month of May.” Another favorite, Anita Gillette, applying the called for cockney accent, served up a colorful and sassy “Just You Wait Henry Higgins.” Penny Fuller, who often performs with Gillette, soloed with a poignant “There’s Always One You Can’t Forget.”

Pianist-singer Steve Ross, who holds an exalted position in the international cabaret sphere, delicately performed the sensitive “Heather on the Hill,” and then Shana Farr, who won this year’s Donald Smith Award established to honor the founder of the cabaret convention, teamed with Ross for “From This Day On.” Farr added a spirited rendition of “Show Me,” with Ross continuing at the piano. Ever elegant Karen Akers treated the crowd with “Here I’ll Stay.” Richard Holbrook added a dash of humor with his rapid “How Could You Believe Me.”

One special highlight was hearing Joshua Lance Dixon and Stearns Matthews affectionately and touchingly sing the meaningful plea “Why Can’t They Leave Us Alone.” Dixon also sang “I Could Have Danced All Night,” usually reserved for the female star of “My Fair Lady.”

And accustomed to hearing a man sing the “My Fair Lady” number “I’m Getting Married in the Morning,” as in the show, I was delighted to hear the way Sally Mayes tore into the song in her dynamic version. There was also a high-energy closer to the show—and the convention—contributed by Marta Sanders, who sang “What Did I Have That I Don’t Have?" with the power that I had never heard applied to it before. Then the entire company appeared on stage to “The Night they Invented Champagne.”

Other pleasers in the final program included Tammy McCann singing “Almost Like Being in Love,” Gabrielle Stravelli doing “On the Street Where You Live,” Iris Williams singing “I’ve Grown Accustomed to His Face,” Leanne Borghesi snappily delivering the anti-male rebuke “No Man is Worth It,” and Barbara Brussell soaring with “If Ever I Would Leave You.” Among those providing piano accompaniment were James Horan, Alex Rybeck, Tom Nelson, Art Weiss, Brandon Adams, David Gaines, Paul Greenwood, and Tracy Stark. Band members included Jered Egan on bass and Dan Gross on drums.

Keep in mind the above comments related only to the two nights I attended. Add all of the artists on stage for the October 10 and 11 extravaganzas, and you get an idea of the enormous amount of cabaret talent available these days. At Rose Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center. Reviewed October 14, 2018.

ISAAC SUTTON AND GUEST STARS DYNAMIC IN ENTERTAINING AND CLEVER 'BROADWAY ISRAEL' SHOW  Send This Review to a Friend

Charismatic Isaac Sutton, who grew up in Israel and combines that background with Broadway show biz, returned to Feinstein’s/54 Below supper club last night (September 29, 2018). He is a charming performer with an excellent bass-baritone voice, and he likes to spice some of his songs by singing portions in Hebrew. He also is a savvy showman who enjoys inviting women guest stars to join him in amusing and exhilarating duets as well a giving them a chance to solo.

Women in the audience especially adore Sutton and he gets them to sing along in some numbers and charms them when he roams the room and sings directly to a few especially enthusiastic followers. He is generous in lauding his musicians by pronouncing their names loudly and clearly in introducing them more than once.

Sutton, looking sharp in his white jacket and black shirt, showed his vocal chops soloing in such disparate numbers as the pop “Come Fly With Me;” “Sway’ (in both Hebrew and English); a medley of “Fiddler on the Roof” classics “Sunrise, Sunset,” “If I Were a Rich Man” and “To Life,” and also the demanding “Man of La Mancha.”

The program gained added power when Sutton interacted with superb singer-actresses DeLaney Westfall and Rachel Gold. With Westfall he teamed in “Let Me Be Your Star” from NBC’s “Smash.” They had fun with an arrangement of the title song from “Hello, Dolly!” and, in another duet, “The Rain In Spain” from “My Fair Lady,” but gave it a special twist in Hebrew. Westfall (“Sweeny Todd,” “Kinky Boots,” “Beautiful”) oozed Broadway show biz know-how and sex appeal as she and Sutton had a ball with the competitive “Anything You Can Do” from “Annie Get Your Gun.” Westfall can sure hit her high notes.

Rachel Gold, a superb soprano, brought her own quality to the show as she sang “All I Ask of You” from “The Phantom of the Opera,” in which she has appeared, and also the title song from that long-running musical. Sutton demonstrated how well he can handle voice-challenging demands in teaming with Gold on both those selections. They also ignited sparks with “Climb Every Mountain” from “The Sound of Music” and “Somewhere” from “Westside Story.”

Sutton showed his Israeli affinity via various comments, and also musically when, in addition to his previous Hebrew translations, he sang the Hebrew “Le’Chayey Ha’Am Haze” from the Israeli show “I Like Mike.” In all, the program was an uplifting excursion into the art of cabaret and provided a fun-filled evening of entertainment expertise.

The excellent musicians were Dan Pardo, pianist and musical director, Greg Orlando on double bass, and Brandon McClaskey on drums. At Feinstein’s/54 Below, 254 West 54th Street. Phone: 646-476-3551. Reviewed September 30, 2018.

BOB O'HARE SINGS WITH FEELING ABOUT LOVE  Send This Review to a Friend

In his show titled “Unfinished Business—A Love Story,” Bob O’Hare got swiftly down to his subject in his performance on April 27, 2018 at Don’t Tell Mama following a previous gig on April 15. No nonsense! In his refreshingly direct manner, he said the program would be about love past, present and future, and he proceeded to show what a fine singer he is with his very first number, the unusual, “No Mary Ann,” with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim.

O’Hare has an appealing voice, solid enunciation of lyrics and gets to the root of the songs he selects in a forthright manner. He has a feeling for the meaning of a song, and not trying for special jazz or pop effects, his approach is strictly to communicate what his songs are about.

He charmed with “I Met a Girl” from the show “The Bells Are Ringing” (music by Jule Styne, lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green) and “Have You Met Miss Jones?” (from the Rodgers and Hart musical “I’d Rather Be Right’). He proclaimed love with “I’ll Tell the Man in the Street” (from another Rodgers-Hart show, “I Married an Angel”). He got the jaunty mood of “She Loves Me” (music by Jerry Bock, lyrics by Sheldon Harnick), and eased into a more romantic tone with “Happiness” (from Sondheim’s “Passion ”) and also injected a romantic mood into “What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life?” (from the film “The Happy Ending”).

O’Hare celebrated married life with “I Do, I Do” (music by Harvey Schmidt, lyrics by Tom Jones), and he sang about the need to be alone sometime as well as enjoying togetherness with “My Own Space” (Kander and Ebb. ) He also expressed a marital lament with “Nobody’s Perfect” (Schmidt and Jones), and with “You and I” (music and lyrics by Leslie Bricusse from the film “Goodbye Mr. Chips”) he evoked special emotion when he sang of “growing older, growing closer.”

There were many more songs addressing aspects of love in his well-conceived program, and he provided much easy-listening pleasure with his self-confident delivery minus the sort of banter that many performers feel is required of them.

Extra strength was added by the Tom Nelson Trio, including musical director Tom Nelson on piano, Tom Kirchmer on bass and Peter Grant on drums. The show was directed by Eric Michael Gillett. At Don’t Tell Mama, 343 West 46th Street, Phone: 212-757-0788. Reviewed April 30, 2018.

  

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