There’s No Place Like Oz

  • Post author:
  • Reading time:3 mins read

There’s No Place Like Oz

Metropolitan Room, NYC, November 16, 2015

Reviewed by Rob Lester for Cabaret Scenes

Joie-Bianco-Cabaret-Cares-Cabaret-Scenes-Magazine_21214-year-old Joie (Josephine) Bianco (pictured) guilelessly delivered the yearning essential to “Over the Rainbow” and refreshingly non-screamy “Defying Gravity,” demonstrating charm and skill. With poise, this disarming contender seen in Metropolitan Room’s 2015 singing contest was among those donating their talents and time for a fundraiser at the venue.

buy doxycycline online no prescription pharmacy

Selections from various musical versions of The Wizard of Oz, its Wicked prequel and a sequel—plus an Elton John hit referencing Oz’s boulevard, “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road”—gave a theme to November’s Help Is on the Way Today benefit. The charity helps young people with HIV/AIDS and is an ongoing project produced by Joseph Macchia. Regular Musical Director Tracy Stark chimed in with a groovy “Ease On Down the Road” from The Wiz, the score that host Beau Howard also mined for a knockout “Home” home run, a real powerhouse. Enchanting Natalie Arneson was sublime with Jimmy Van Heusen/Sammy Cahn’s “The Faraway Land,” acing wide-eyed wonder with this not widely known gem from the animated sequel The Journey Back to Oz. Joshua J. Bennett was fashionably Ozzish in a blue-checked shirt and bright red accent recalling Dorothy’s garb and delighted with the 1939 film’s “If I Only Had a Brain”—charm personified. Caroline Kearney was Wickedly wonderful, too, sampling Stephen Schwartz’s long-running hit prequel. Nice, emotional work all around—the room was full of what Oz’s Tin Man most valued: Heart.

Alas, the announced award-winning Joshua Dixon was home sick (“There’s no place like home,” he might have added, born—like Dorothy—in Kansas). And Richard Pryor, Jr., son of the legend who played the title role in the film of The Wiz, had planned to participate, but was unable to do so after all. But it’s the thought that counts with a charity event, and plenty of thought was put into this one with attendees also buying raffle tickets to help the cause. December’s Cabaret Cares events at the same venue are the 11th with a tribute to Frank Sinatra and the 18th with a Christmas show by the gifted Dorian Woodruff whom this reviewer has enthusiastically written up on the web for a recent solo show.

The venue also hosts a multi-performer event for AIDS charities on Tuesday, December 1, which is the annual World AIDS Day.

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.