Marissa Mulder: Illusions

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Marissa Mulder


Metropolitan Room, NYC,  March 24, 2017

Reviewed by Peter Haas for Cabaret Scenes

Marissa Mulder

From her cabaret debut only seven years ago, followed the next year by her becoming a MetroStar Talent Challenge Grand Prize winner, Marissa Mulder has continued to win warm applause and affection for her singing, her fresh interpretations of classic songs, and her charming and lively on-stage presence. She’s done it again, in her newest outing: four successive evenings in March at the Metropolitan Room.

Backed by a grand band consisting of pianist Bill Zeffiro, as musical director, Pete Anderson on sax, clarinet and flute, and John Loerhke on bass, Mulder—a beauty in a black velvet gown that contrasted with her flowing red hair—sang and chatted her way through a varied collection of standards, show tunes and specialty numbers, written by composers and lyricists past and present.

The show [a reprise of her post-MetroStar presentation from 2012] is titled Illusions, and that was the concept that dictated her generous selection of songs. The idea got off to a start with “Pure Imagination” (Leslie Bricusse/Anthony Newley) and  “Never Never Land” (Jule Styne/Comden and Green), followed through the evening with such numbers as Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer’s “That Old Black Magic,” the Gershwins’ “Lorelei,” Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now,” Frederick Hollander’s “Illusions,” Ed Kleban’s “Better,” even a visit to “Disneyland,” courtesy of Marvin Hamlisch and Howard Ashman.

The concept also prompted newer songs. One was “My Kind of Guy,” an original by Zeffiro.

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Another was “Lullaby for Nathan Charles,” by Mickey Leonard and David Hajdu. (Insider factoid: the Nathan in the title is the now-teenage son of Hajdu and his wife, cabaret star Karen Oberlin, who was among the first to mentor Marissa and who served this show as director.) Mulder’s finale: the ever-exquisite “Rainbow Connection” by Paul Williams and Kenny Ascher, was sung in memory of the late Gregory Kennell, a graphic designer who contributed his skills to the early days of this magazine, as well as the Manhattan Association of Cabarets and Clubs (MAC).

Marissa Mulder, still growing in her craft, is a performer to keep following—and enjoying.

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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.