Songs to Offend Almost Everyone
The Duplex, NYC, March 6, 2016
Reviewed by Joel Benjamin for Cabaret Scenes
There’s something kittenish about Sharon McNight, with her sweet voice. But, this is a kitten that shows her claws with gleeful abandon in Songs to Offend Almost Everyone at The Duplex in Greenwich Village.
She touched on religion (Margaret Archer/Chet Atkins’ acidic “Would Jesus Wear a Rolex” and Randy Newman’s sardonic “God’s Song (That’s Why I Love Mankind)”, passing gas (“Wind Beneath My Wings” by Larry Henley & Jeff Alan Silbar, additional lyrics by Michael Greer & Sharon McNight), eating dogs (“You Can’t Eat Dog in Taiwan” by David Buskin, Rob Carlson & George Wurzback, aka Modern Man), accepting the gayness of a child (“Your Son Isn’t Going Through a Stage” by Rick Crom) and taking on one of NYC’s biggest pains in the butt, “Poisoning Pigeons in the Park” (Tom Lehrer).
As good as she was in comic songs, she really shone in the outright sexy and/or touching ones, such as “Everybody’s Girl” (Kander & Ebb) about a woman fooling herself about fooling around. McNight’s “I Never Do Anything Twice” (Sondheim) was given probably the juiciest interpretation it’s ever had.
It was fun watching this cabaret artist shift from red hot mama to Mae West to tough, yet fragile broad. She knows how to shape her show and keep it real as she communicated intimately with the crowd at the legendary Duplex.
Her final song was the “good riddance” number we all at one time or other want to sing: “Goodbye and Good Luck” (Ronald White, recorded by Mary Wells). Needless to say, Sharon McNight knew how to sing this one from her gut.
Ian Herman was more than McNight’s incredible musical director/accompanist; he was also a good buddy, therapist and occasional backup singer.