Patricia Salinski: Smile

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Patricia Salinski


Davenport’s, Chicago, IL, November 8, 2015

Reviewed by Carla Gordon for Cabaret Scenes

Patricia-Salinski-Cabaret-Scenes-Magazine_212It mattered little that Patricia Salinski showed some opening night jitters in her debut show, Smile, because she managed to create a warm experience for her audience. Early numbers included a medley about smiles, a salute to pop oldies with “Where the Boys Are,” and the simply delivered “No Fear” (Amanda McBroom). In many respects, Salinski made us feel like guests in her parlor. This was particularly so when her brother and sister joined her on stage for “Danny Boy.

There is often a magical moment in a debut cabaret show when the singer begins to relax. For Salinski, this happened in a thoughtful, well delivered “Fifty Percent.” She had fun with McBroom’s “Dieter’s Prayer.” The crowd enjoyed Salinski’s sassy offering of “Kitchen Man” delivered to her honey who joined her on stage.

“Time Heals Everything” was heartfelt and intense, but could be less “sung.” A highlight was “Arthur in the Afternoon” (Kander & Ebb). That Salinski didn’t push either vocally or comically made this not-the-least-bit-contrite story song about sizzling matinees with said Arthur hilarious.

Musical Director Beckie Menzie provided supportive accompaniment. Percussionist Irwin Berkowitz joined tin whistle virtuoso Kathleen Keane in an engaging instrumental number.

As Salinski progresses along her cabaret journey, she may want to address some issues. Dialogue between musical numbers is better when it leads seamlessly into (or out of) a song. She may want to consider how certain songs relate to the expectation of a theme such as Smile and to each other. Taking better advantage of breathing opportunities will give her a richer sound.

All that said, Patricia Salinski indeed accomplished the mission of all effective cabaret artists—which is to deliver music that makes a room feel cozy and filled with love.

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.