Nancy Anderson: Ten Cents a Dance

| July 10, 2017

Nancy Anderson

Ten Cents a Dance

Feinstein’s/54 Below, NYC, July 5, 2017

Reviewed by Marilyn Lester for Cabaret Scenes

Nancy Anderson

If the Broadway community is gleefully shouting “Hello, Dolly!,” the cabaret community certainly should be cheering “Hello, Nancy!” The singer-actress returned to the small stage, after a decade away, with Ten Cents a Dance, the show based on her 2006 record release of the same name. Anderson is a multiple Drama Desk Award nominee whose cabaret career actually only began at the birth of this century. The genre suits her. Her star quality—vivacious personality and energetic stage presence, with talent galore—shines and shimmers in an intimate setting.

From producer Scott Siegel’s enthusiastic introduction, Anderson, looking chic in period jazz-age dress, swung into “The Trouble with Me Is You” (Harry Tobias/Pinky Tomlin), demonstrating a sure soprano with impeccable phrasing. With numbers such as “The You and Me That Used to Be” (Walter Bullock/Allie Wrubel) and “You’re Giving Me a Song and Dance” (Milton Ager/Marty Symes), originally sung by Peg La Centra with Artie Shaw, Anderson revealed not only a deep feeling for the period and genuine love of the material, but an astute curatorial approach in selecting under-performed pieces, especially those made famous by long-forgotten performers, such as La Centra, Jimmy Rushing, and Teddy Hill. Anderson is stylistically flexible. She’s capable of performing in period mode, à la a reincarnated Marilyn Miller, or in modern musical language, as she did with a trio of Richard Rodgers/Lorenz Hart numbers: “My Romance,” “I Didn’t Know What Time It Was,” and “It Never Entered My Mind.” These compositions, plus torch songs such as the “lost standard,” “True Blue Lou” (Richard Whiting/Sam Coslow), spotlighted Anderson’s acting chops, and hence the ability to interpret lyrics with nuance and soulfulness.

On the comedic side, the singer amused with a ukulele turn on “Ain’t She Sweet” (Milton Ager/Jack Yellen) and tickled with “How’dja Like Ta Love Me?” (Burton Lane/Frank Loesser). Anderson’s dramatic interpretation of the eponymous “Ten Cents a Dance” (Rodgers & Hart) was so powerful and affecting that it lifted the song out of the realm of over-sung cliché into something rare and wonderful. With a nod to her work in the recently closed Sunset Boulevard, she delivered, as an encore, “With One Look” (Andrew Lloyd Webber/ Don Black/Christopher Hampton) with such vocal purity and focused intensity as to be sheerly mesmerizing.

Backing up Anderson was a group led by the musical wizard, Musical Director-pianist Ross Paterson. Individual musicians—Aaron Heick on reeds, J.J. McGeehan on guitar/banjo/ukulele, Don Falzone on bass—demonstrated their skill throughout the set. A band jam on “Alibi Baby” (Edward Heyman/Tot Seymour/Vee Lawnhurst)) was a special treat.

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

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