Carol Woods

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Carol Woods

Beach Café, NYC, October 21, 2017

Reviewed by Peter Haas for Cabaret Scenes 

Carol Woods
Photo: Maryann Lopinto

The Beach Café’s first season of cabaret, under the masterful stewardship of Mark Nadler, ended in October with a bang: the cabaret appearance of dynamic actress/singer Carol Woods. Spotlighting the popular and movie music of composer Richard Whiting, Woods—with Tex Arnold at the piano—brought many of his songs to life with warmth, a merry spirit, and solid musicianship.

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Commenting that Whiting’s late daughter, the singer Margaret Whiting, was a mentor to her, Woods delivered a generous helping of the senior Whiting’s output with various lyricists.

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Included were many numbers that became standards in his time and are still popular today.

Woods started her evening with “If I Could Be with You (One Hour Tonight)” (James P. Johnson/Henry Creamer) and an upbeat “Got No Time” (Gus Kahn), then highlighting Whiting’s versatility with such long-time hits as “Ain’t We Got Fun” (Raymond B. Egan/Kahn) and “Breezin’ Along with the Breeze” (Haven Gillespie/Seymour Simons).

Among Whiting’s other standards offered: “When Did You Leave Heaven?

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” (Walter Bullock); “My Ideal” (Newell Chase/Leo Robin) (which Margaret later recorded, for her first Gold Record); the bluesy “Can’t Teach My Old Heart New Tricks” (Johnny Mercer); and the classic “Too Marvelous for Words” (Mercer). A “surprise” element was the performance of Whiting and Kahn’s relatively unknown “A Day Away from Town,” which Arnold had discovered while researching through the composer’s stored manuscripts and for which he provided a completed melody and harmonization.

“She’s Funny That Way (I Got a Woman Crazy for Me)” began as Whiting’s own poem about his wife, with music later added by Neil Moret (pseudonym of Charles N.

Daniels). Carol Woods’ moving performance brought cheers from the Beachcombers.

The Beach’s first program of cabaret has drawn to a close. Watch for news of future shows.

Peter Haas

Writer, editor, lyricist and banjo plunker, Peter Haas has been contributing features and performance reviews for Cabaret Scenes since the magazine’s infancy. As a young folk-singer, he co-starred on Channel 13’s first children’s series, Once Upon a Day; wrote scripts, lyrics and performed on Pickwick Records’ children’s albums, and co-starred on the folk album, All Day Singing. In a corporate career, Peter managed editorial functions for CBS Records and McGraw-Hill, and today writes for a stable of business magazines. An ASCAP Award-winning lyricist, his work has been performed at Carnegie Hall, Feinstein’s, Metropolitan Room and other fine saloons.