Jan. 13: Karen Oberlin

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Karen Oberlin

Heart and Soul: The Songs of Frank Loesser

January 13 @ 7:00 pm

Metropolitan Room
34 W. 22nd St., NYC

Photo: Bill Westmoreland
Photo: Bill Westmoreland

In 2010, the entertainment world celebrated the 100th birthday of composer Frank Loesser, who had died 41 years before at age 59. Loesser had achieved American songwriter immortality for writing the scores to classic Broadway musicals such as Guys & Dolls and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, as well as the score to the film Hans Christian Andersen, which starred Danny Kaye.

In the New York cabaret world, nobody honored the legacy of Frank Loesser better than singer Karen Oberlin, who in June of 2010 staged a run of critically acclaimed shows at the famed Algonquin Hotel Oak Room. Oberlin’s show Heart & Soul: The Songs of Frank Loesser received a MAC Award nomination for Best Major Artist and the live CD of the show earned her the MAC Lamott-Friedman Award.
Now Stephen Hanks’ Cabaret Life Productions and Associate Producer Father Jeffrey Hamblin, MD are bringing back Karen Oberlin’s Frank Loesser Tribute Show (with original Musical Director Jon Weber and bass player Sean Smith) as the first 2016 installment of his New York Cabaret’s Greatest Hits series at the Metropolitan Room. “I entered the cabaret world as a reviewer in late 2010, so I never saw this show,” says Hanks. “I’m thrilled Karen Oberlin agreed to bring it back for my series so those like me who didn’t experience it will get a chance now.”
The show also garnered raves from the critics:
“In Heart and Soul, Ms. Oberlin concentrates on Loesser’s softer-edged zaniness and on his unjustly neglected romantic side . . . Several of Loesser’s great ballads—notably, “I’ve Never Been in Love Before,” “I Wish I Didn’t Love You So” and “Spring Will Be a Little Late This Year”—were given careful, contemplative readings . . . Beyond having a pretty voice, poise and interpretive insight, Ms. Oberlin is a thorough researcher who placed many of the songs in a historical or personal context . . . Throughout the smart, polished show, she maintained a comfortable rapport with her musicians, the fleet, airy jazz pianist Jon Weber, who took a couple of impressive solos, and the bassist Sean Smith. – Stephen Holden, The New York Times
“A Christmas tree angel named Karen Oberlin is lighting up the Algonquin’s Oak Room with a show that sends you out humming. Subtle, elegant and musically spot on, Oberlin is such a welcome addition to the often noisy and pointless cabaret scene that one can even imagine her accompanied by a celesta without causing the slightest hint of boredom. She’s a keeper!” — Rex Reed, New York Observer
“Karen Oberlin’s lush vocal renditions of the songs of one of America’s foremost writers of the American theater filled the air of the historic Oak Room. Oberlin approached each musical gem with forethought, intimacy and passion . . . A mix of pop and jazz with an easy delivery, it feels as if she hugs each lyric. Oberlin is joyous to behold.” — Sandi Durell, Cabaret Scenes.