Steve Ross on Broadway
The Cabaret at Germano’s, Baltimore, MD, December 20, 2015
Reviewed by Michael Miyazaki for Cabaret Scenes
In Steve Ross on Broadway, the singer/pianist/raconteur performed an idiosyncratic selection of songs that found fame on the Great White Way. An opening of “Call Me Back” from Lovely Ladies, Kind Gentlemen set the tone for the show, contrasting a cry to be loved with a show-bizzy razzamatazz. Other mini-arcs in the show dealt with topics such as the Gershwins, Kurt Weill, the annoyance of not being in love, and the joy of newfound love. Ross particularly scored with a sequence demonstrating ravishing Broadway melodiousness with “My Heart Is So Full of You,” “Make Our Garden Grow,” and “All the Things You Are.”
The Steve Ross cabaret experience exists at the nexus of saloon singing and high art. As a saloon singer, he is adept at bringing freshness to familiar material and familiarity to new material. He can shift moods from heartfelt to impish to celebratory and bring the audience right along with him. And he has a way seeming to respect and honor his audience that is a model for performers everywhere.
As an artist, Ross has a talent for seamlessly balancing the many elements of cabaret performance. His show was a delightful combination of the familiar and unexpected. His musical style contrasts a dissonance in the accompaniment from a melodic vocal line. And he gets great effect from the way he varies the nuance of a song’s repeated lyric, such as the “about you” in “Losing My Mind,” varying the emphasis and emotional content behind it.
Ross ended the evening with the Chopin-inspired song “It’s Almost Christmas Eve”he wrote with Ken Hirsch and Rosie Casey A return to Baltimore would certainly answer this reviewer’s holiday wishes.