Cheryl Ann Allen: I’m a New Yorker

| September 19, 2016

Cheryl Ann Allen

I’m a New Yorker

Don’t Tell Mama, NYC, September 14, 2016

Reviewed by Randolph B. Eigenbrode for Cabaret Scenes

cheryl-ann-allen-cabaret-scenes-magazine_212In her recent show, Cheryl Ann Allen —a husky-voiced and booming alto—presented her journey from small-town Massachusetts girl to big-city woman ultimately revealing that the secret to being a New Yorker is “not to give a damn.” Unfortunately, emphasizing the presentation of these anecdotes, rather than the embodiment of them, made for a less than fulfilling evening.

None the less, the crowd laughed, cheered and smiled along with the eternally wide-grinned Allen who recalls performers of days gone by. With her 2nd Avenue cadence, she is reminiscent of Sophie Tucker [whom she has tributed and portrayed in past shows] and Totie Fields. And, with the bulk of songs written by director/husband, Ian Finkel, she exemplifies a command of the razzmatazz schmaltz of Borscht Belt-type anthems. Sadly, having a singular creative source leads the evening no further than mostly impressionistic moments and empty showstoppers.

All and all, it’s hard not to like Allen especially in her strongest moments. In “Turn Your Cheek” (Finkel) she displayed genuine disappointment and resentment towards a controlling college professor. Conversely, in “She’s a Perfect Part of Me” (Finkel), a doting ode to her daughter, she bridged a familiar connection. With a distinct twinkle in her eye, Allen demonstrated a stronger complicité with the audience, finally speaking to us, rather than at us.  It is here she is the most charming.

With an amiable “neighborhood girl” demeanor, it disappoints to find Allen’s presentation has a hollow ring, leaving this reviewer to wonder what would happen if she employed a director who would push her to find a deeper connection to the material. With charisma and a unique voice, it might be this connection that could take her from seen-it-before to see-it-again. 

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

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