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Pat Whiteman: A Whiteman Sampler

| September 13, 2015

Pat Whiteman

A Whiteman Sampler

Tom Rolla’s Gardenia, West Hollywood, CA,  September 11, 2015

Reviewed by Elliot Zwiebach for Cabaret Scenes

Pat-Whiteman-A-Whiteman-Sampler-Cabaret-Scenes-Magazine_212Listening to Pat Whiteman sing, all I can say is, “Wow!” If this is just a “Whiteman sampler,” bring on the main course!

Whiteman is a singer’s singer — a woman who enchants an audience with the purity of her voice, the precision of her control and the spot-on emotion she puts into every song. She is particularly adept at deep, heartfelt ballads, but she also kills on belting up-tempos and on silly, amusing numbers. It would seem there’s little she cannot do well, and — under the direction of Jason Graae — she did it all.

In the ballad category, Whiteman’s stunning version of “I’d Rather Be Sailing” (William Finn, from A New Brain), with its focused emotions, could not be done better; and she was equally effective in a thoughtful, deeply moving take on “Strangers Once Again” (John Bucchino/Lindy Robbins).

She hit her sweet spot on a tender, full-throated “Man in the Moon” (Jeff Blumenkrantz), mesmerized with a delicate, soft, come-hither take on the splendid “Follow Me” (Lerner and Loewe, from Camelot), and added new nuances to a couple of Sondheims ­— an achingly sweet and moving medley of “Love, I Hear” (from …Forum) and “Anyone Can Whistle.”

The show included plenty of lighter moments, including an out-of-the-park performance of the downright bawdy, highly suggestive “Growing Boy” (Alan Menken/Howard Ashman, from Babe), in which Whiteman flirted with male members of the audience, a bubbly, giddy “Why Can’t We All Be Happy Like Me? (Joanne Bogart/Eric Rockwell), and an adorable little song about a very small woman with a very large agenda called “Teeny Tiny Lady” (Marshall Barer).

Performing on one of the hottest nights of the year in Los Angeles, Whiteman was right on with Christine Lavin’s song about a woman who would spurn untold riches for a man with an “Air Conditioner.” She was all country-and-western twang on a thoroughly entertaining “Ready, Willing and Able” (Al Rinker/Floyd Huddleston/Dick Gleason, heard in the movie Young at Heart) — in which Musical Director John Boswell, on piano, played an extended instrumental while Whiteman played spoons, juggled three balls and also took a dance break that involved arms spread out left and right but no foot action, surely a Graae touch.

Boswell was not simply a superb accompanist, but also showed off his potent vocal talents during several perfect blendships, including a smooth version of “I Like the Likes of You” (Yip Harburg/Vernon Duke) and the energetic “Gotta Have Me Go with You” (Ira Gershwin/Harold Arlen, from A Star Is Born) mashed up with “Let’s Be Bad” (Marc Shaiman/Scott Wittman, from TV’s Smash).

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Category: Cabaret Reviews, Los Angeles, Los Angeles Cabaret Reviews, Regional

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