Anna Besserud: Who Wrote the Book of Love?

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Anna Besserud

Who Wrote the Book of Love?

Davenport’s, Chicago, IL, April 19, 2015

Reviewed by Carla Gordon for Cabaret Scenes

Anna-Besserud-Who-Wrote-the-Book-of-Love-Cabaret-Scenes-Magazine_212In Who Wrote the Book of Love? Anna Besserud expounds in song on questions surrounding our favorite romantic emotion. Looking as if she had been poured into her black sheathe, Besserud flexes comedy chops in “Oh Henry Bar”(Michael Kooman and Christopher Dimond), longing and lusting for that last Oh Henry! in the vending machine. She could have enhanced its jokes by singing less.

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She is more effective in “Compromise” (Goldrich and Heisler), landing the story of the co-dependent—willingly assuming doormat status for her narcissistic, uncertain beau.

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Updated lyrics to “Personality” (the Mercer/Van Heusen one), joke about Dolly Parton’s chest and Lewinsky’s dress and add fun. Besserud is sexy in “Gimme, Gimme” (Jeanine Tesori and Dick Scanlan). Clearly written before Women’s Liberation, “What’s the Use of Wond’rin’” from Carousel wistfully confesses blind love. She delivers that well. We can relate to “I’ll Forget You” (Frank Wildhorn and Nan Knighton) as Besserud shares the bittersweet emotions of not yet being ready to move on from that last broken love affair. Classically trained, Besserud is making positive steps toward discovering the conversational qualities that cabaret demands. It is when she shares her wit and heart that she is the most irresistible.

Carla Gordon

Carla Gordon is a singer/songwriter, director, and producer. The Chicago Tribune cited her among “Chicago’s most accomplished cabaret performers….a major player in Chicago cabaret.” Reviewer Pam Peterson called her “Honey-voiced wisecracker!” Ageless Magazine called her performance as Sophie tucker, “A gem!” Gordon writes custom material for singers nationwide. Her flagship show, "Blacklisted," featuring songs made famous by artists blacklisted under McCarthyism, has toured to critical acclaim. She serves on the Board of Directors for the Chicago Cabaret Professionals and on the Advisory Board of the Skokie Theater. Her songs air on WFMT’s Midnight Special and are being performed performed by cabaret artists nationwide.