Nancy Dussault: My Life Upon the Wicked Stage

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Nancy Dussault

My Life Upon the Wicked Stage

Feinstein’s/54 Below, NYC, September 27, 2016

Reviewed by Rob Lester for Cabaret Scenes

Nancy Dussault
Nancy Dussault

Keep your fingers crossed that on New Year’s Resolutions lists out there is the intention to make the truly triumphant return of Nancy Dussault to NYC nightclub performing a 2017 unbroken resolution, not only a 2016 one-night-only highlight. That vibrant victory, above and beyond the call of duty and high expectations, didn’t disappoint for a millisecond, second to none in all my starry nights in cabaret-going all year.

Do the math if you must: Broadway ingenue in 1960, she reprised her songs from then and decades that followed, no need to allow a bow to what Father Time time and time again taketh away for others. In fact, her voice—which in semi-recent years evidenced wider vibrato and wobble—was in splendidly solid shape throughout. Delightful, dishy, radiantly reprising résumé highlights, she basked in the glow of a loving, warm welcome. This audience clearly included longtime Broadway fans and numerous recognizable fellow veterans of the Great White Way from way back (Phyllis Newman, Lee Roy Reams, etc.).

The wisely chosen opener, “A Cock-Eyed Optimist,” set forth joie-de-vivre mantras as secrets to her Fountain of Youthful sustaining philosophy. Juicily generous program climax: Olympics-worthy mega-medley of NYC/regional roles played. Comic timing is super-sharp and original; I was in LOL Heaven at not only lyric lines I know by heart and anticipated, including some I’d never thought of as laugh lines. This true star’s bubbly personality, facial expressions, eye-rolling and in-the-moment, character-specific reactions seized joyful, jest-filled twists and turns. Both celebrating and dreading wedding chimes, charismatic Miss Dussault and pianist sublime Christopher Marlowe romped through a mash-up of My Fair Lady’s “Get Me to the Church on Time” and Company’s neurotic “Getting Married Today”—a tour de force farce. Ending with her Do Re Mi-introduced gem, “Make Someone Happy,” Dussault did do so—extremely happy—all night.

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.