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Neile Adams: An Evening with Neile Adams

| October 19, 2017

Neile Adams

An Evening with Neile Adams

Catalina Bar & Grill, Los Angeles, CA,  October 15, 2017

Reviewed by Peter Leavy for Cabaret Scenes

Neile Adams
Photo: Jeff Scott Grace

A soft musical intro by a quartet led by musical director Andy Howe and leading into Burton Lane and Alan Jay Lerner’s “On a Clear Day You Can See Forever,” brought a smiling Neile Adams on stage, sporting a sequined blue outfit and looking eager to begin. That smile was little wonder, considering the welcome the audience was sending her way. 

The number was but the first of a treasure trove of long-loved songs by some of the best of the Great American Songbook crowd and their cherished Broadway musicals. Adams visited the romantic “They Say It’s Wonderful” and “I Got Lost in His Arms,” both from Irving Berlin’s Annie Get Your Gun; recalled the joyful anticipation of marriage with “Mister Snow” from Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Carousel; enjoyed the whimsical “When I’m Not Near the Man [Girl] I Love” from the Burton Lane/E.Y. Harburg Finian’s Rainbow; and offered the less-often-heard “Nothing” from Marvin Hamlisch and Ed Kleban’s A Chorus Line. Selections from The Pajama Game, South Pacific, and Damn Yankees also made the list.

Other composers and lyricists had their moments as well, including Jerome Kern, Richard Whiting, Johnny Mercer, and the team of Kander and Ebb. And, while not by as famous a pair of writers, Russell George and Michael Leonard’s “Not Exactly Paris,” got a grade-A rendition that would have pleased them mightily.

It’s hard to know whether the audience was composed more of those who had seen Adams in musicals, her myriad of film and television appearances, or those more recently in her camp from the intimate boîtes of cabaret. Whatever the mix, their enthusiasm was clear, the show gratifying and, when she bantered with those in the room, they loved it. She closed with “Smile,” a Charlie Chaplin composition (lyrics: John Turner/Geoffrey Parsons) that could have served well as a one-word description of the program.

The vocals were nicely backed by musical director Howe on piano, Chris Connor on bass, Sam Weber on drums, and Dan Ferguson on guitar. Ted Sprague directed.

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Category: Cabaret Reviews, Los Angeles, Los Angeles Cabaret Reviews, Regional

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The show could become far more satisfying.

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