Cheyenne Elliott: I’m Here

| May 1, 2017

Cheyenne Elliott

I’m Here

The Duplex, NYC, April 17, 2017

Reviewed by Randolph B. Eigenbrode for Cabaret Scenes

Cheyenne Elliott

Being the granddaughter of Dionne Warwick and cousin of the late Whitney Houston must elicit some serious expectation, yet Cheyenne Elliott doesn’t seem to let on to it. Boldly titling her NYC solo debut I’m Here, Elliott means business.

She has that youthful exuberance you’d expect from a 22-year-old and there’s an authentic naiveté that’s charming. Singing “I’m a little lamb who’s lost in the wood” (in the Gershwins’ “Someone to Watch Over Me”), she truly personifies the sentiment. She became visibly moved at the start, enthusiastic to share her talents, yet this fervor didn’t serve Elliott well—almost making her toil in an effort to assert her talent. Her voice is a thick alto, closer to Warwick’s than to Houston’s, with a breathy pop middle-end that seems more appropriate for the Starbucks CD crowd than a hard-nosed NYC cabaret audience. But this vocal aesthetic only seems to reinforce her innocent appeal. 

The show itself had an old-school showcase approach: a collection of accessible songs from various genres and eras with little patter, each parading Elliott’s radio-friendly allure. Even her outfit—form-fitting black sweater with matching black leggings – screamed traditional, giving little impression of her style.  Come to think of it, most of Elliott’s pieces—“When I Fall in Love” (Victor Young/Edward Heyman), “Come Away with Me” (Norah Jones), “Somewhere That’s Green” (Alan Menken/Howard Ashman)—also gave little indication of her point of view or personality, instead serving up a wallop of impressionistic blandness. 

But still, Elliott shows promise. She dedicated “Déjà Vu” (Isaac Hayes/Adrienne Anderson) to “Grammy” Warwick (who was in attendance) and a quiet yearning emerged in her vocal attack. Perhaps because of the subconscious osmosis, the star in Elliott emerged and a haunting vision of a complex young woman appeared.

It was no star vehicle, but Elliott, with the right guidance, could very well make showbiz waves in the future.       

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

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The show proves enchanting.