Lena Moy-Borgen: LenaLenaLena: The Awards Show

Lena Moy-Borgen

LenaLenaLena: The Awards Show

Don’t Tell Mama, NYC, May 3, 2017

Reviewed by Randolph B. Eigenbrode for Cabaret Scenes

Lena Moy-Borgen

There’s something reassuring — exciting even — about an artist who knows her wheelhouse. Lena Moy-Borgen’s newest cabaret, a celebration of all things award shows, is really an excuse to showcase her wicked sense of humor. With music gravitating towards piano bar standards (The 3 “D”s – Divas, Disney and Duets), Moy-Borgen sets the audience on course for a riot of an evening and sets herself on course to becoming a Don’t Tell Mama mainstay.

Acting as part hostess (“with the mostes'”?) and part raconteur, her comic dynamic teeters between self-deprecation and zany.

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The joke is she’s never actually won an award, but for the brash Moy-Borgen, this is really a launching pad for a string of clever jokes and set-ups. Whether exploring the manic emotions Bette Davis must have felt when losing an Academy Award in a rollicking “Breaking Down” (William Finn) or a manic mash-up of two Best Song Oscar winners – “Fame” (Michael Gore/Dean Pitchford) and “Let It Go” (Kristen Anderson-Lopez/Robert Lopez) – Moy-Borgen proves that she belongs on stage.

Her voice is brassy, mirroring her persona, although the top end verges on strident at times. In fact, she sometimes recalls an orphan from Annie, albeit a grown-up one, but this only adds to her charm. Most fun is a medley of re-lyric-ed songs that poke fun at our greatest Divas who are not true EGOT winners. Barbra, Judy, Liza, and Bette (whom Moy-Borgen also recalls) each get a healthy skewering in the most loving way.

Moy-Borgen might take a cue from Midler, the ultimate soubrette, and find some places to add vulnerability in future shows. While funny, the piece verges on tedium because of its lack of approach and tone. But, for a young cabaret artist, Lena Moy-Borgen is one to watch and quite possibly might be receiving her first award sooner rather than later.

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Randolph B. Eigenbrode

Randolph is the newest addition to the writing staff at Cabaret Scenes. He is a cabaret teacher, previously teaching with legend Erv Raible, and his students have gone on to success in the field with sold-out shows and many awards. He is also a director and that, combined with a knowledge of the art form and techniques that cabaret performing encompasses, makes him love reviewing NYC’s cabaret scene. When not catching the Big Apple’s crazy talent, Randolph loves 1970s variety shows, mall Chinese food, Meryl Streep films and a good cold glass of pinot grigio.