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Arlene Wolff: Changes: A New Show

| November 6, 2016

Arlene Wolff

Changes: A New Show

Metropolitan Room, NYC, November 1, 2016

Reviewed by Melody Breyer-Grell for Cabaret Scenes

Arlene Wolff

Arlene Wolff

They say you never forget how to ride a bicycle, no matter how many years pass. Arlene Wolff (who was an up-and-coming-girl singer of the early 1960s), came back this past year and proved that statement to be dead on. And dead on is the way she approached her song set, with such flawless musicianship as to make her sound as one with her band of exacting professionals (led by pianist and Musical Director Ian Herman), while she swung effortlessly on songs including “Day In, Day Out” and “Blue Skies.”

The most impressive part of her vocal performance came with her ballads. While this is where many other singers’ weaknesses are exposed, Wolff spun out the more reflective songs with spontaneity and connectivity, as if she was experiencing these emotions for the first time. To be able to make “Ten Cents a Dance” and “Nature Boy” compelling to the sophisticated listener is no easy task, but the singer has us breathe with her, as she told her stories.

And there were also the stories of her life, which came across as the organic revelations of a new friend who has entered your own life—a rare friend—who’ll be a keeper. The highlight of Wolff’s program had to be her intimate rendition of “Lies of Handsome Men” (showcasing the natural “tear” in her voice), as performed in front of the venerable composer, Francesca Blumenthal. Nights like these are rare and to be cherished, as were the autumnal decades of the late Julie Wilson.

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

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