Reviews

Natalie Douglas

Natalie Douglas

May 20, 2018 | By | Add a Comment

Ella Fitzgerald was arguably the premier female jazz and pop singer of the mid-20th century, certainly when it came to recordings and perhaps in live performance as well. Natalie Douglas clearly thinks so, and she made a very strong case for that premise in her recent remarkable Fitzgerald tribute show at Birdland. At the top […]

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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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Sierra Rein

Sierra Rein

May 6, 2018 | By | Add a Comment

The title of Sierra Rein’s show at the Laurie Beechman Theatre is a deliberately ironic misnomer: Running in Place (directed by James Beaman) actually celebrates—in fine style—her arrival at a long-delayed finish line. Striding onto the stage in a tight-fitting black cocktail dress and high heels, Rein makes it clear she’s totally in command of […]

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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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Michael Kirk Lane

Michael Kirk Lane

April 26, 2018 | By | Add a Comment

Singer Michael Kirk Lane decided to celebrate his birthday by presenting a new show at Don’t Tell Mama called Glass Half Full. The optimism and positive energy implied by that title came to quite entertaining life on stage throughout the evening, even when he was addressing some rather dire and depressing aspects of our current […]

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Liz Robertson

Liz Robertson

April 22, 2018 | By | Add a Comment

There is a great deal to be said for inside information when it comes to creating and presenting a musical cabaret tribute show. Almost any singer could compile such an offering based on public domain material—or solely on Wikipedia snippets—combined with the honoree’s greatest hits. But an artist’s knowing or having known one’s subject well […]

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Lisa Viggiano

Lisa Viggiano

April 22, 2018 | By | Add a Comment

Singer Lisa Viggiano lives in New Jersey, so it is de rigueur that she be a Bruce Springsteen fan. But she feels a closer kinship to “the boss” than many others do, a kinship she celebrates in her new show, Lisa Viggiano Sings Bruce. She enlists the aid of Matt Scharfglass on guitar; he is usually […]

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Stearns Matthews

Stearns Matthews

April 19, 2018 | By | Add a Comment

In his recent show at the Laurie Beechman Theatre, Golden Ticket: The Songs of Leslie Bricusse, Stearns Matthews demonstrated that he is working with an embarrassment of riches. Even more than possessing a sweet lyric baritone that testifies to a solid classical training, he radiated intelligence, integrity, and a love of music that he shared […]

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Gay Marshall

Gay Marshall

April 16, 2018 | By | Add a Comment

Leonard Cohen wore many coats in addition to his famous “Famous Blue Raincoat”: he was a novelist, a poet, a musician, a songwriter, a singer, an actor, and for a time, a stand-up comedian. A native Canadian, he was best known in this country as a singer-songwriter, first introduced to me (and many others) by […]

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Broadway Sings Rihanna

Broadway Sings Rihanna

April 4, 2018 | By | Add a Comment

Rihanna may be to this era what Madonna was to the 1980s: a chart-topping, identity-shifting, fashion-forward, pop mogul. These days when kids bounce around their bedrooms and sing into a hairbrush, you can bet it’s often Rihanna they’re singing. As catchy and glossy as her superstardom is, she also has a fierce, truth-telling quality that […]

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