Lorna Luft

Lorna Luft

Feinstein’s/54 Below, NYC, February 16, 2018

Reviewed by Randolph B. Eigenbrode for Cabaret Scenes


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Lorna Luft took to the stage sounding eerily similar to both her mother and sister. There was a husky quality to her voice, a pronounced wobble and laboriousness to the middle passagio.
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There is indeed a genetic nature (and of course nurture) to her sound, but what became apparent a few songs into her program was that Luft was under the weather. 

Disappointment seemingly permeated the air, but Luft refused to acquiesce, instead serving up old-school showbiz training school lesson #1: she made no mention, apology, or even acknowledgement of her condition. She, rather, opted to connect with her audience and “sell it” for all it’s worth. This alone was a masterclass: watching Luft negotiate her vocal limitations while simultaneously focusing an exuberant energy to win the audience’s approval.

Of course, that dynamic rings familiar to her familial connections, but you can’t help but love Luft.

This edition found her paying tribute to female lyricists: Diane Warren, Dorothy Fields, Carolyn Leigh, Carole Bayer Sager, and Ellie Greenwich. Most arrangements, by MD/husband Colin Freeman, never veer too far from the originals and Luft seems most at home with razzmatazz anthems by Cy Coleman and Leigh like “Hey, Look Me Over” and “I’ve Got Your Number.

” Most effective was a breezy “The Best Is Yet to Come,” also by the duo, that allowed Luft to find a sly attack, full of sultry and tongue-in-cheek play.

Luft stumbled with an old-timey, Velveeta schmaltz-fest, “That’s What Friends Are For” (Burt Bacharach/Sager), including a befuddling addition of backup singers (and a sing-along, no less). But Luft reigned, ruling a gentle intercourse with her audience. This was most apparent when back-up singer Chris Dilley soloed “(Today I Met) The Boy I’m Going to Marry” (Greenwich/Tony Powers/Phil Spector). Dilley has those Star Search pipes but, perhaps, only a fraction of the connecting ability that Luft does. Indeed, even with her limited vocal capability, Luft still can deliver with the best and hold a room in the palm of her hand.
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Randolph B. Eigenbrode

Randolph is the newest addition to the writing staff at Cabaret Scenes. He is a cabaret teacher, previously teaching with legend Erv Raible, and his students have gone on to success in the field with sold-out shows and many awards. He is also a director and that, combined with a knowledge of the art form and techniques that cabaret performing encompasses, makes him love reviewing NYC’s cabaret scene. When not catching the Big Apple’s crazy talent, Randolph loves 1970s variety shows, mall Chinese food, Meryl Streep films and a good cold glass of pinot grigio.