Cat Gorman: Songs, Stars & Stories

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Cat Gorman

Songs, Stars & Stories

Don’t Tell Mama, NYC, February 20, 2015

Reviewed by Rob Lester for Cabaret Scenes

Photo: Kevin Alvey
Photo: Kevin Alvey

Wearing her director hat, Marilyn Maye strikes again. The veteran entertainer is a peerless show-stopper of a showwoman and a beloved teacher, so many singers want to work with her. Or, dare I say, want to be her. Along with her master class piano man, Barry Levitt, she co-arranged diligent Cat Gorman’s act, which overindulged in a favored Maye device: the medley. But it takes a master with magnetism like Maye’s to make a medley move and manifest magic. Otherwise, too many just feel ploddingly episodic and longer than they are. The book of Gorman was one full of standards, largely show tunes, representing roles she did somewhere at some point, the music of The Music Man and others feeling distancingly fairly or unfairly too “ladylike,” like My Fair Lady. The lady has a pretty and pleasing sound indeed, is gracious, but we seemed to be visiting generic versions of characters, not a cabaret “this is ME” getting-to-know-who? More of a recital in a club, there was still warmth and much musicality.  Breaking through the lace curtain—Newsies’ “Santa Fe” with distinction. But let the real Cat out of the bag of tricks and tunes and let’s see who she is. Meanwhile, it’s what’s pleasant that’s present.

Rob Lester

2015 is native New Yorker Rob Lester's eighth year as contributing writer, beginning by reviewing a salute to Frank Sinatra, whose recordings have played on his personal soundtrack since the womb. (His Cabaret Scenes Foundation member mom started him with her favorite; like his dad, he became an uber-avid record collector/ fan of the Great American Songbook's great singers and writers.) Soon, he was attending shows, seeking out up-and-comers and already-came-ups, still reading and listening voraciously. He also writes for and, has been cabaret-centric as awards judge, panel member/co-host, and produces benefit/tribute shows, including one for us.