Gracie & Lacy: The Great American Songbook Live!

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Gracie & Lacy

The Great American Songbook Live!

Feinstein’s/54 Below, NYC, September 21, 2018

Reviewed by Marilyn Lester for Cabaret Scenes

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Costumed in 1940s period elegance, and exuding much Southern charm, sisters Gracie and Lacy, in their show, The Great American Songbook Live!, time-tripped back to the Golden Age of big-band swing. Starting out of the gate with “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy (of Company B),” the pair performed in a close harmony worthy of the Boswell or Andrews sisters, moving from jive into a smooth “Sentimental Journey.” Each sister also demonstrated individual vocal chops with solos that stood squarely on their own merits. Lacy, who sang “I’m Gonna Sit Right Down (and Write Myself A Letter)” and “Over the Rainbow” possesses a pleasant mellifluent soprano, while Gracie’s timbre is mellower and honey-inflected. She swung on “I Got Rhythm” and “It’s Only a Paper Moon” and did impressions and tap danced to boot.

Backing the duo was a quintet, the “Legends Swing Band,” comprised of jazz men from Charleston, SC, the sisters’ home town. Dressed riverboat style—Joe Clark on piano, Jeff Narkiewicz on bass, Brad Bolchoz on drums, Bill McSweeney on trombone, and Stephan Berry on trumpet—complemented the pair nicely, with occasional solos (McSweeney particularly doing a turn on “Hello, Dolly!”).

The act is polished, perhaps too much so (particularly with a prerecorded MC voice track). New York audiences know this material well, and it’s safe to say, would prefer a more organic, relaxed approach to performance. But this is the duo’s New York debut and perhaps their experience here will inform future shows in the Big Apple. Their dedication to keeping the material alive, however, is nonpareil. They’ve been performing it since childhood, putting on “Broadway on the Driveway” shows that attracted much local attention. Their talent and unrelenting devotion to the Great American Songbook can’t be underestimated.

Marilyn Lester

Marilyn Lester left journalism and commercial writing behind nearly two decades ago to write plays. That branch in the road led to screenwriting, script-doctoring, dramaturgy and producing for the stage. Marilyn has also co-authored, as well as edited, books. It seemed the only world of words she hadn’t conquered was criticism, an opportunity that presented itself via Theater Pizzazz. Marilyn has since sought to widen her scope in this form of writing she especially relishes. Marilyn is a member of the Authors Guild, Dramatists Guild, Women in the Arts and Media and The League of Professional Theater Women.