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Kiki Ebsen: To Dad with Love: A Tribute to Buddy Ebsen

| April 12, 2016

Kiki Ebsen

To Dad with Love: A Tribute to Buddy Ebsen

The E-Spot Lounge, Studio City, CA, April 10, 2016

Reviewed by Mary Bogue for Cabaret Scenes

Kiki-Ebson-Cabaret-Scenes-Magazine_212An exceptional cabaret experience, Kiki Ebsen magnificently showcased the private and public life of her father, Buddy Ebsen, who graced the silver screen, danced his way into our hearts and became the loving presence in our homes via television.

Kiki took the stage against a screen on which was projected her father’s life, and went right to work at the piano with “Missing You” (Buddy Ebsen/Zeke Manners). It was tender, plaintive and adoring, captivating the audience with the moving images, and her honest connection to the lyrics.

“Easy to Love” (Cole Porter) was exceptional as she moved from piano to in front of the screen while images of Buddy with Eleanor Powell danced across her statuesque form, as life on the lot of The Beverly Hillbillies played behind her. Kiki revealed the heartbreaking story of her dad first being cast as The Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz, but losing it to Ray Bolger. Then Ebsen was cast as The Tin Man, but he was hospitalized from the effects of being painted with aluminum, and relinquished the role. Kiki was hip, tender and jazzy with the iconic “If I Only Had a Brain” (Yip Harburg/Harold Arlen).

Breaking up the set, Kiki was hysterical singing “Angelica,” written by her dad and Paul Mason Howard based on their children’s book of the same name. (She also read from the book.) Then, she killed with “Moon River” (Johnny Mercer/Henry Mancini), singing against imagery of Buddy from Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Concluding the brilliant must-see show with “Over the Rainbow” (Harburg/Arlen), she looked upward said, “Here’s to you, Dad,” evoking tears with her tribute of love and gratitude. Scoring high were musicians Perry La Marca pianist and musical director, and George Shelby on woodwinds, and others. Discover her CD, Scarecrow Sessions and, if you have a brain, run to her Father’s Day show at Catalina’s in Los Angeles.

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

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