Natalie Douglas: Tributes: Dame Shirley Bassey

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Natalie Douglas

Tributes: Dame Shirley Bassey

Birdland, NYC, October 30, 2017

Reviewed by Candace Leeds for Cabaret Scenes

Natalie Douglas
Photo: Bill Westmoreland

Natalie Douglas has been described as “a force of nature”—and added to that description should be “major talent.” Her Tributes: Dame Shirley Bassey, the final of four concert salutes (Sammy Davis, Jr., Linda Ronstadt, and Nina Simone) at Birdland, was a tour de force.

She presented Bassey’s greatest hits with her own powerful sound and touching intensity, bringing the Dame’s illustrious career to life with her well-researched patter.

Douglas discovered Bassey as a child when she would watch her on TV.

She reveled in Bassey’s talent, calling her “a goddess,” “funny,” “smart,” and “kittenish” with “a voice that pins you against the wall.” All those descriptive terms also describe Douglas, who has a voice that can soar and the ability to embrace a multitude of musical styles with soul and heart.

Beginning with a booming “Big Spender,” (Cy Coleman/Dorothy Fields), she wowed us with her big, bold sound, her endearing personality, and her considerable interpretive skills. Every song was a winner—from “Something” (George Harrison), to “I Want to Know What Love Is” (Mick Jones) to “Diamonds Are Forever” (John Barry/Don Black) to Bassey’s hit, and the title of her album, “Never, Never, Never” (Tony Renis/Alberto Testa/Norman Newell).

Douglas’ renditions of “I (Who Have Nothing)” (Carlo Donida/Jerry Leiber/Mike Stoller/Giulio “Mogol Rapetti), “If You Go Away” (Jacques Brel/Rod McKuen), and “I Am What I Am” (Jerry Herman) were stocked with powerful emotion which touched the heart. Of course, her finale was the standard hit title song from the James Bond movie Goldfinger, which Douglas delivered with Bassey’s intensity and verve. Throughout the show, the songs brought the cheering audience to its feet, and she was ushered off the stage with yet another rousing standing ovation.

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Candace Leeds

Candace Leeds has been steeped in the world of music since the age of twelve, when she enrolled in Juilliard to study voice and prepare for a professional career. After 15 years of music studies, she moved into entertainment management at New York's Town Hall, where she produced concerts and served as Associate Director. Her writing and marketing skills led to senior positions in major public relations firms, including the PR arm of Grey Advertising and The Rowland Company, which became part of Saatchi and Saatchi. For the past two decades, she served as Vice President of Public Affairs at the multi-billion dollar conglomerate, Loews Corporation, and now has her own marketing consulting company. While pursuing her business career, she continued her music involvement, studying cabaret and occasionally performing in local New York venues. Candace is an accomplished writer whose work has appeared in the New York Daily News, TV World, and many others.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. chuckiepie

    Years ago, I saw Shirley Bassey live at the Waldorf-Astoria. It was Fantastic, Fabulous! Nat, seeing you as Dame Shirley Bassey is surely the Next Best Thing.

  2. Charles Prentiss

    Nat, My Dear, if you lived in England, you would already be known as Dame Natalie Douglas. Molto Bravos to You. Onward and Upward!

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