Still Exactly Where I Belong
Don’t Tell Mama, NYC, March 23, 2017
Reviewed by Ron Forman for Cabaret Scenes
After a lengthy career on stage, Deborah Stone made her debut as a cabaret performer this past January. If I had to describe her in one word, it would be “chanteuse.” She looks sophisticated and elegant. Her diction and elocution are superb. Her voice is a very sweet soprano that rises to the occasion. She has a delightful sense of humor that works well in her patter and in songs that require it. What makes her very special is her ability to transform many of her songs into mini dramas. Her experience on stage comes through in her ability to make every word of a lyric meaningful.
Stone was a bit tentative in her first two numbers, “Something’s Coming” and “Autumn in New York.” But that was explained by her description of her recent experience of going on a cabaret stage for the first time, which led into a very funny performance of “Shy” from Once Upon a Mattress. She gained momentum with an extraordinary performance of “Anyone Can Whistle.” The medley that began and ended with “I’m Old Fashioned”—with “Simple Little Things” (110 in the Shade) woven smoothly in the middle—displayed her very pretty sound. She showed her flair for comedy with Cole Porter’s “The Physician” (“But He Never Said He Loved Me”). She brilliantly transformed Stephen Sondheim’s “The Ladies Who Lunch” into an interesting short story. Her lilting and sometimes thrilling soprano voice worked very well with “Do I Hear a Waltz?” and “Garbage” (Dear World). Stone proved that she could also be a belter with “Some People,” followed by a moving and very dramatic “Lush Life.” She was bold and brassy with “Chief Cook and Bottle Washer” (The Rink). Stone surprised me with her closing number, showing off her experience as a dancer, swiveling and swaying and making contact with audience members with “Whatever Lola Wants.” Her encore: a dramatic “The Rose.”