Minda Larsen: Ladies of Cabaret

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Minda Larsen

Ladies of Cabaret

Metropolitan Room, NYC, August 15, 2017

Reviewed by Bart Greenberg for Cabaret Scenes

Minda Larsen
Photo: Kevin Alvey

Dazzling to look at and delightful to hear, Minda Larsen returned to the Metropolitan Room for an evening of songs that she made very personal to herself and to the audience. Showing professionalism (what’s a malfunctioning microphone? Just keep singing out!) and immaculate enunciation, each number was a playlet in itself.

Dedicated to her beloved grandmother, Sondheim’s “I Remember” was reinvented by the singer as a reflection by an elderly person lost in her memories.

And an unusual combination of “The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze” and “Fly Me to the Moon” served as a tribute to her Russian acrobat husband, who was providing enthusiastic support from the audience. She followed that with a her celebration of her marriage with a medley of “Simple Little Things” and “Can’t Help Lovin’ Dat Man.”

Another aspect of her life is her career as a vocal teacher. She obviously approaches this with passion, and she invited four of her students to share the stage.

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They all reflect her performance technique of enunciation, personalization, and dressing to dazzle. Ranging in age from 9 to 16, each had his/her own personality. The youngest, Julian Lerner, possesses a fearless confidence and excellent vocal control for one so young. Nyla Robotham took on two Gershwin standards with an Ella-inspired swing. Violet Reimer brought the perfect naïve angst to “The Boy from Ipanema.” And Joie Bianco offered up a clever pairing of “Too Young” and “Young and Foolish,” suiting her lyrical power and shy personality.

Larsen brought the evening to a close with “Too Marvelous for Words” and, indeed, the whole program was.

Bart Greenberg

Bart Greenberg first discovered cabaret a few weeks after arriving in New York City by seeing Julie Wilson and William Roy performing Stephen Sondheim and Cole Porter outdoors at Rockefeller Center. It was instant love for both Ms. Wilson and the art form. Some years later, he was given the opportunity to create his own series of cabaret shows while working at Tower Records. "Any Wednesday" was born, a weekly half-hour performance by a singer promoting a new CD release. Ann Hampton Callaway launched the series. When Tower shut down, Bart was lucky to move the program across the street to Barnes & Noble, where it thrived under the generous support of the company. The series received both The MAC Board of Directors Award and The Bistro Award. Some of the performers who took part in "Any Wednesday" include Barbara Fasano and Eric Comstock, Tony Desare, Andrea Marcovicci, Carole Bufford, the Karens, Akers, Mason and Oberlin, and Julie Wilson. Privately, Greenberg is happily married to writer/photographer Mark Wallis, who as a performance artist in his native England gathered a major following as "I Am Cereal Killer."