Melissa Becker: Reason for Breathing

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Melissa Becker

Reason for Breathing

The Duplex, NYC, February 17, 2018

Reviewed by Chris Struck for Cabaret Scenes

Melissa Becker

Having seen Melissa Becker strut her stuff before with the Guilty Pleasures girls, I was excited to see her solo performance at The Duplex. Even knowing what she could do, I was still impressed by her volume, poise, and consistent ability to seemingly get better song after song! A woman with a talent for hitting high notes at high volume, Becker also added subtle facial gestures to ever so slightly alter the messages of some songs, as when she morphed “A Thousand Miles” by Vanessa Carlton from romance into creep anthem.

Becker went through some of the stories that brought her to her love for the stage as well as performing some recent classics from the Broadway “bigs,” like “So Big, So Small” (Benj Pasek/Justin Paul, from Dear Evan Hansen). However, it got even better when she pulled out a classic and belted a thrilling “A Piece of Sky” (Alan and Marilyn Bergman/Michel Legrand) from Barbra Streisand’s Yentl, seemingly without pause. A pleasant surprise for sure, given the general ’90s focus of the show. Only, Becker had one more in store when she sang an outstanding “Never Enough” (also Pasek & Paul) from the recent movie The Greatest Showman!

We couldn’t get enough of her or her music director/pianist, Daniel J. Mertzlufft, who Becker described as everything short of guru. They collaborated to some songs for the show, including the title song, where Becker praised the stage lovingly with the refrain, “I know it might not seem like much, but it’s all that I need/My reason for breathing.”

Looking forward to seeing this combo again!” I couldn’t get enough!

Chris Struck

Chris Struck's debut novel, Kennig and Gold, is due to be officially published in June 2019. He's written reviews for Cabaret Scenes since August of 2017. For more information about the writer, see