Yvonne Constant: Then and Now

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Yvonne Constant

Then and Now

Metropolitan Room, NYC, 11/17/15

Reviewed by Peter Haas for Cabaret Scenes

Yvonne-Constant-Et-Maintenant-Cabaret-Scenes-Magazine_212“C’est au revoir, mes amis”—or, in its English translation: “This is goodbye, my friends.” This was the surprise message that Yvonne Constant—French-born dancer, actress and singer who has been celebrated on Broadway, on television and in cabaret—announced to her audience at the end of her latest cabaret show at the Metropolitan Room.

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It marked her imminent departure from America, and her intent to return to live in France.

Titled Then and Now, the show included many of the songs that Constant has performed throughout her career. Singing in French and English, ever in dance motion even while seated on a stool, and accompanied by her supportive pianist/arranger Russ Kassoff, she delighted a strong house with a variety of popular and show songs.

The first portion of her show focused on “love gained and lost,” with such songs as “Where Do You Start?

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” (Mandel/the Bergmans), “What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life?

” (Legrand/the Bergmans), Sondheim’s “Send in the Clowns,” “To Be Not So Alone” (written in French, adapted with English lyrics by Will Holt), and an amused rendition of Cole Porter’s “It’s All Right with Me.”

The second half focused on her French roots. Numbers included the original that became the Jimmy Durante favorite, “One of Those Songs,” “Et maintenant” (which became “What Now My Love”), Jacques Brel’s “La valse a mille temps” (or the ever-faster “On a Carousel”). It was then she commented on the recent attacks in Paris, and announced her retirement. Following were “two more for the road,” as she expressed it, two French favorites as encores: “Mon vieux” (“My Dad”) and “Comme d’habitude,” which became popular in its English-language version as “My Way.”

The applause, as she left the stage, was loud and loving. Comments were heard expressing hope that Yvonne Constant will return to America to perform again, to an audience that clearly loves her.

Peter Haas

Writer, editor, lyricist and banjo plunker, Peter Haas has been contributing features and performance reviews for Cabaret Scenes since the magazine’s infancy. As a young folk-singer, he co-starred on Channel 13’s first children’s series, Once Upon a Day; wrote scripts, lyrics and performed on Pickwick Records’ children’s albums, and co-starred on the folk album, All Day Singing. In a corporate career, Peter managed editorial functions for CBS Records and McGraw-Hill, and today writes for a stable of business magazines. An ASCAP Award-winning lyricist, his work has been performed at Carnegie Hall, Feinstein’s, Metropolitan Room and other fine saloons.