Lennie Watts: Feels Like Home

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Lennie Watts

Feels Like Home

Davenport’s, Chicago, IL, May 6, 2017

Reviewed by Carla Gordon for Cabaret Scenes

Lennie Watts

While fortunate New Yorkers can be entertained often by Lennie Watts, Chicago cabaret fans enjoyed their first taste as he presented Feels Like Home at Davenport’s and will, no doubt, want more. If your taste in cabaret is well-sung truth, then Watts is from Heaven. While he brings a beautifully supported vocal instrument, he is not about vocal pyrotechnics: He is about sharing meaningful stories effectively. 

His offering of “It Goes Like It Goes” (from the film Norma Rae) first captures us with prosaic words about a working man’s family and a working man’s child. Soon, however, it takes us to the higher ground of hoping for better. His unembellished delivery enables us to accompany him on the hopeful journey. In “One Rock and Roll Too Many,” Watts takes us from the exhaustion of world class overindulgence to the unabashed grand thrum of energetic rock. When he offers his slow, sensual delivery of the “A Hard Day’s Night,” indeed the images of coming home after a long work day to be given “everything” are palpable. If ever a song called for simple, understated delivery, it’s “I Honestly Love You” (Jeff Barry and Peter Allen). Watts’ less-is-more offering of what may be considered to be a pop tune allows us to appreciate how it feels to screw up one’s courage to say, “I love you,” then face that the feeling is not reciprocated. We have all walked that walk. Even when performing goofball comedy in his signature parody about Old McDonald’s dysfunctional farm, his setup is straightforward so we can picture the animals that are respectively flatulent and suffering from Tourette’s. Watts shares some funny and some touching personal stories about his hits and misses in musical theater and reflections about entertaining that enabled us to know him better. While we Windy City dwellers appreciated the sentiments of Cole Porter’s “Take Me Back to Manhattan,” rumor has it that Watts has performed a medley of Chicago songs. We Chicagoans are eagerly waiting to hear it.

Carla Gordon

Carla Gordon is a singer/songwriter, director, and producer. The Chicago Tribune cited her among “Chicago’s most accomplished cabaret performers….a major player in Chicago cabaret.” Reviewer Pam Peterson called her “Honey-voiced wisecracker!” Ageless Magazine called her performance as Sophie tucker, “A gem!” Gordon writes custom material for singers nationwide. Her flagship show, "Blacklisted," featuring songs made famous by artists blacklisted under McCarthyism, has toured to critical acclaim. She serves on the Board of Directors for the Chicago Cabaret Professionals and on the Advisory Board of the Skokie Theater. Her songs air on WFMT’s Midnight Special and are being performed performed by cabaret artists nationwide. carlacabaret@aol.com

This Post Has One Comment

  1. DP

    Lennie Watts is truly AMAZING, I am anxious for his return to enjoy another show.

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