54 Sings Irving Berlin

| July 11, 2015

54 Sings Irving Berlin

54 Below, NYC, July 8, 2015

Reviewed by Ron Forman for Cabaret Scenes

54-Sings-Irving-Berlin-Cabaret-Scenes-Magazine_212You can’t go wrong doing an Irving Berlin tribute show, and how delightful it can be when it is done right. A dozen of today’s top cabaret performers singing 18 well-chosen Irving Berlin numbers, made 54 Sings Irving Berlin a very entertaining evening of cabaret entertainment.

Jon Weber opened the show with a piano solo of the song that made Berlin rich and famous, “Alexander’s Ragtime Band.” Molly Pope’s “The Hostess with the Mostes’ on the Ball” described what multi-talented Pope would be for the entire evening. Her introductions to each number were brief, but interesting, entertaining and, as is her manner, usually hilariously funny. Jennifer Sheehan utilized the celestial quality of her voice to have the audience “Reaching for the Moon.” Madeline Doherty brought the appropriate emotion to one of Berlin’s greatest love songs, “How Deep Is the Ocean (How High Is the Sky).” Two Marissas, Miller and Mulder, worked beautifully together on “Sisters.”

Nobody ever wrote sadder songs than Berlin. Maxine Linehan’s acting and singing made “What’ll I Do” emotionally draining. Gabrielle Stravelli performed two numbers: “Love, You Didn’t Do Right by Me,” and then she let it all out, with a breathless “Let Yourself Go” that had the audience cheering. Mulder returned to beautifully perform another great Berlin love song: “Always.” Janelle Robinson brought the appropriate soulfulness to Berlin’s anti-lynching “Supper Time.” Raissa Katona Bennett and Willy Falk blended nicely with Berlin’s counterpoint number “You’re Just in Love”/“I Wonder Why.” Aaron Ramey’s booming masculine voice was perfect for “When That Midnight Choo, Choo, Leaves for Alabam’.” Beginning slowly, then building to a rousing climax, Pope acted out “the headaches, the heartaches, the backaches, the flops” in “There’s No Business Like Show Business.” The evening ended with Janelle Robinson performing the seldom-sung verse to, followed by the audience singing along with, “God Bless America.”

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Category: Cabaret Reviews, New York City, New York City Cabaret Reviews

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