Brighton Thomas

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Brighton Thomas

Upstairs @ Vitello’s, Studio City, CA, November 10, 2017

Reviewed by Les Traub for Cabaret Scenes

Brighton Thomas

With her solo cabaret debut, Brighton Thomas combined a poised presence with a voice that displayed both power and sensitivity. The show focused on her musical influences and offered a tip of the hat to them with strong performances of their well-known numbers.

Thomas took command of the stage right at the outset with her opener of “Cabaret” (John Kander/Fred Ebb) in a traditional arrangement and delivered confidently.

Her sensitive side came through in her a cappella beginning to “Killing Me Softly” (Charles Fox/Norman Gimbel) before being joined by equally sensitive accompaniment by musical director Dan Scoville.

Her influences range over a variety of singers and she was at home in each particular style. An ability to dig into a rock number like Linda Ronstadt’s version of “You’re No Good“ (Clint Ballard, Jr.) or a soulful take on a Amy Winehouse hit, “Valerie” (Dave McCabe/Boyan Chowhury/Russel Pritchard/Sean Payne/Abi Harding) or a touching “Imagine” (John Lennon) via Eva Cassidy offered prime evidence of her versatility. A moving story about seeing her first show on Broadway, The Color Purple, and tearing up at the song “I’m Here” (Brenda Russell/Allee Willis/Stephen Bray) led to her emotional take on it (and almost avoiding tearing up).

Her connection to the songs was very personal and she did a good job of conveying that connection to the audience. She is a natural performer, quite at home on the stage. Already an award winner in several vocal competitions, including being named the 2016 Great American Songbook Youth Ambassador at Michael Feinstein’s Great American Songbook Academy, she has been picked by conductor Feinstein for a Gershwin evening next summer with the Pasadena Pops Orchestra.

Thomas relied on well-known numbers by her musical influences for her first show.

Finding material beyond these influences and mixing familiar songs with some lesser-known material would be an appropriate next step on what is sure to be successful musical journey.

Les Traub

Les Traub has been covering the cabaret scene for over twenty years. He is a co-founder and President of Cabaret West and has produced cabaret shows at the Jazz Bakery, Cinegrill, Gardenia, El Portal Theatre, Pasadena Playhouse and at UCLA. He co-produced and wrote a Sammy Cahn tribute show at the Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills. He is Chairman of the Board of Musical Theatre Guild, where he co- produced Sail Away, High Spirits, Little Mary Sunshine and Street Scene at the Alex Theatre. He has lectured on cabaret in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Connecticut. .