Author Archive: Mark Dundas Wood

Mark Dundas Wood is an arts/entertainment journalist and dramaturg. His features and reviews have appeared in such publications as American Theatre and Back Stage and on BistroAwards.com. As a dramaturg he has worked with New Professional Theatre and the New York Musical Theatre Festival. His stage adaptation of Henry James's novel The Tragic Muse was part of the Gilded Stage Festival at the Metropolitan Playhouse in January 2014.

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Michael Cummings

Michael Cummings

September 17, 2018 | By | Add a Comment

At one point in his September 14 show at the Triad, Michael Cummings acknowledged friends and family in attendance. When he had finished, it seemed he’d greeted nearly everyone in the room. Of course, a performer’s loved ones naturally show up to offer support, but it’s no accident that they turned out in droves—always enthusiastic […]

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Daniel Reichard

Daniel Reichard

September 2, 2018 | By | Add a Comment

The theme of Summer Playlist—Daniel Reichard’s recent show at the Birdland Theater—was the mix tape. In decades past, Reichard, like many young music lovers, would program these customized song collections on audiocassette recorders. Part of the point of mix tapes was that you could be as eclectic as you wanted, juxtaposing golden oldies with current […]

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Lucie Arnaz

Lucie Arnaz

July 19, 2018 | By | Add a Comment

It’s serendipitous, I believe, that the first lyrics to be sung during the first official engagement at Manhattan’s new Birdland Theater are from Irving Berlin’s “There’s No Business Like Show Business.” The choice of this song supports the idea that the 100-seat room will be more aligned with a Broadway sound and sensibility than with […]

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Kathryne Langford

Kathryne Langford

July 17, 2018 | By | Add a Comment

No hard-and-fast rule dictates how much spoken word cabaret singers should include in their shows. Generally, spoken remarks don’t occur in a show until after the second number. Then, depending on the thematic nature of the program, they’re sprinkled throughout the remainder of the show (though not usually before every single number). Lately, some performers […]

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Steven Zumbo

Steven Zumbo

July 3, 2018 | By | Add a Comment

“You know, we eschew themes,” Steven Zumbo announced early in his recent show at Don’t Tell Mama, a two-night engagement directed by Helen Baldassare. (He could have added that show titles would also be shunned—he dispensed with that convention as well.) The theme-free policy was fine by Zumbo’s enthusiastic audience, and fine by me, too. […]

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Jason Henderson

Jason Henderson

June 25, 2018 | By | Add a Comment

Presenting an entire program of Noël Coward numbers would, I imagine, give many an American cabaret singer pause. Whose songs are more steadfastly British—not only in lyrical content but also in sound and style? (OK, Gilbert and Sullivan’s, but who else’s?) Also, Coward is one of the rare musical talents of his generation and genre […]

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Kendra Cunningham

Kendra Cunningham

June 25, 2018 | By | Add a Comment

Kendra Cunningham is a good human being. Or, at any rate, she’s trying hard to be one. Growing up in a Catholic, Irish-Lithuanian-American household, she began saying affirmations at age 13. Her favorite is “I love and adore myself,” a motto that has apparently morphed into a full-blown mantra to counter her frequent self-doubts. At […]

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Marcos Valle

Marcos Valle

June 5, 2018 | By | Add a Comment

Brazilian songwriter, singer, and keyboardist Marcos Valle has been an international musical presence since the early 1960s. Looking at displays of his album covers online, you can trace his march of time. There’s Valle, just a kid—bright-eyed, clean-cut, and turtle-necked. And there he is a few years later, propped up shirtless in a bed—his hair […]

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Whitney Chapman

Whitney Chapman

May 16, 2018 | By | Add a Comment

There’s a straightforward, almost conversational quality to Whitney Chapman’s vocals that works well for some of the mid-tempo and up-tempo songs in her Burt Bacharach/Hal David show (directed by Barry Kleinbort) at Don’t Tell Mama—especially on songs with lyrics about everyday concerns, such as waking up and applying makeup or putting a hundred down to […]

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Brad Simmons and Lennie Watts

Brad Simmons and Lennie Watts

April 29, 2018 | By | Add a Comment

I’m not certain I fully understand the point of the musical genre “Blue-Eyed Soul,” which is essentially a nickname for soul music (and/or Rhythm & Blues) sung by white people. The term was reportedly coined by an African-American deejay at a radio station in Philadelphia who wanted to subtly inform his listeners that certain of the […]

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