Rhythm and Romance
The Cabaret at Germano’s, Baltimore, MD, February 14, 2017
Reviewed by Michael Miyazaki for Cabaret Scenes
At the beginning of his Valentine’s Day show, Steve Ross explained that the title Rhythm and Romance referred neither to an “ineffective form of contraception nor a literary genre,“ but to his intention to provide an evening of musical expressions of love.
The show fully delivered on that promise, exploring romance from many different angles: the overtly passionate (a medley of “How Deep Is the Ocean (How High Is the Sky)” and “Always”); the settled (“Married”); the frustrated (“And Her Mother Came, Too”); the remembered (“It Never Was You”); the unreturned (“The Unrequited Lover’s March”); and the wholly inappropriate (“Have Some Madeira, M’Dear?”). He also provided a lovely piano medley of songs associated with Edith Piaf. A particularly effective sequence dealt with the relation of time and love, with a jubilant “Just in Time” leading into a satisfied “Time After Time” capped by a pensive “Time in a Bottle.”
Ross is a master as serving as a direct, unfussy conduit between the songwriter’s intention and the audience’s experience. This has the effect of making a familiar song like “All the Things You Are” feel fresh, and more obscure material such as “99 Miles from L.A.” instantly familiar. The highest tribute to offer his show (other than the fact that he successfully managed to avoid “My Funny Valentine” on Valentine’s Day) is the romantic spell his rhythm cast over the room, inspiring couples of all ages to hold hands and offer other discrete signs of affection to each other.