Midler on the Roof
Feinstein’s at the Nikko, San Francisco, CA, November 9, 2014
Reviewed by Steve Murray for Cabaret Scenes
Bette Midler and Carly Ozard go together like peanut butter and chocolate, a natural match of two equally outrageous talents aligned with some wonderful material. Matching some very funny personal anecdotes with Midler-covered tunes has provided Ozard with her best show to date—concise, well crafted and beautifully sung.
The show focuses on the triumph of the underdog over numerous obstacles. (Ozard herself was misdiagnosed with bipolar disorder and treated for years.) Ozard successfully weaves songs together, like a mashup of John Prine’s “Hello in There” with “Wind Beneath My Wings” as an homage to her supportive grandmother’s descent into dementia. “The Rose” is a renewal of her sweet ascent to prescription-free clarity and joie de vivre, and the cherishing of the people in her life is expressed with “Friends.”
The addition of two backup singers (San Francisco’s Coker sisters: Jennifer and Jessica) and musical direction by Steven Ray Watkins adds great harmonies to fun material like “Big Noise from Winnetka,” “I Know This Town” and “My Knight in Black Leather.”
Ozard was in fine voice, belting with control when required (“Rose’s Turn”) or massaging a tender ballad (“I Think It’s Going to Rain Today”). Of course, she’s also a fine comedienne who creates an instant rapport with her audiences. Ozard’s youthful obsession with Midler has successfully come full circle.