Kate Baldwin: Extraordinary Machine

| October 28, 2016

Kate Baldwin

Extraordinary Machine

Feinstein’s/ 54 Below, NYC, October 25, 2016

Reviewed by Ron Forman for Cabaret Scenes

kate-baldwin-cabaret-scenes-magazine_212Kate Baldwin, best known for her roles in Broadway musicals, including her Tony-nominated starring role in Finian’s Rainbow, surprised the crowd at Feinstein’s/54 Below by saying she would not sing any Broadway songs, eliciting laughter by saying she would not be another performer singing “Meadowlark.” Instead, she said that she would perform popular songs that she loved. It turned out to be a pleasant surprise as she showed that her soprano voice could work in many genres including pop, country and rock. Having seven musicians and four back-up singers helped make for a very enjoyable show.

Baldwin opened with “Extraordinary Machine.” She followed that with a very funny routine about how, as a 12-year-old, she heard lyrics, including “Like a Virgin,” differently from what they were, so that they made sense to her naïve persona. Before “A Little Respect” she said that people sing along at the beginning of the song (the audience did), but then they stop (the audience did) because the notes get too high, but not for her spectacular soprano. She showed off her flair for comedy with “Stop Wondering.” Reminiscing amusingly about using AOL Instant Messenger with her future husband led into “Everyday I Write the Book.” Baldwin displayed her ability to do a country song with Loretta Lynn’s “First City.” Her voice and personality meshed nicely with guest Matt Doyle on a medley of “Oh, What a World”/“Wicked Little Town.” (OK, the latter is from a Broadway show, Hedwig and the Angry Inch.) Talk about her 5-year-old son was followed by an a cappella “You’re a Grand Old Flag” that lead into Billy Joel’s “Lullabye (Goodnight, My Angel).” She channeled Aretha Franklin nicely with a rocking “You’re All I Need.” Baldwin did do another show tune, a soft and beautiful “Ribbons Down My Back,” after mentioning that she will appear in the Bette Midler production of Hello, Dolly! The closing number, “Happy Ending,” had Baldwin ending on a very high note (double meaning intended).

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

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Definitely a hit.