Christine Ebersole: After the Ball

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Christine Ebersole

After the Ball

Feinstein’s/54 Below, NYC, September 18, 2017

Reviewed by Bart Greenberg for Cabaret Scenes

Christine Ebersole

She is glamorous, classy, down to earth, self-deprecating, and sarcastic. She has a crystalline voice that is capable of belting, purring, and slithering around a jazz arrangement. In short, she is a Broadway star offering up a personal story. She is the incandescent Christine Ebersole.

After the Ball is a meditation on time and aging. Celebrating being an empty nester and offering tributes to her beloved parents, there is a bittersweet quality to the show, mixed with some solid humor. This is a well-thought-out program that takes the audience on a journey.

Among the clever combinations of songs was a trio reflecting on how a woman views her face in the mirror at different stages of her life: “The Way You Look Tonight” (youth); “Look at That Face” (maturity); and “What Did You Do to Your Face?” (Susan Werner) (at that certain age).

A medley of “Yesterdays” and “Lazy Afternoon” brought out complexities and surprises in both the well-known songs. And Ebersole highlighted her versatility with a jazzy “I’m Old Fashioned,” a vaudevillian “Toot, Toot, Tootsie (Goo’bye)” (in tribute to her mother’s work schedule), and a big band-ish “My Baby Just Cares for Me.” Only “’S Wonderful” goes a bit too far, breaking down the song resulting in a loss of the melody.
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But, she delivered “Autumn Leaves” accompanied only by guitar, and it was a thing of beauty.
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Christine Ebersole will be continuing at Feinstein’s/54 Below for a series of Monday evening performances; attendance is highly recommended.

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."