Lorna Dallas: Home Again

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Lorna Dallas

Home Again

Birdland, NYC, February 26, 2018

Reviewed by Elizabeth Ahlfors for Cabaret Scenes

Lorna Dallas

A musical gold medal winner, Lorna Dallas was Home Again. In her first show at Birdland and her first United States performance in 20 years, her soprano voice as richly layered as a fine cabernet, Dallas celebrated her return. While classic and poised as ever, the performance also reflects a joyful and emotional spirit from the first song to the last.

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Love suffuses the show: love for her music, her friends, and her late husband.

Directed by Barry Kleinbort (who wrote some of the lyrics), and accompanied by music director Christopher Denny, Dallas delivered a selection of personal songs opening with “As If We Never Said Goodbye” (Andrew Lloyd Webber/Don Black/additional words by Kleinbort). It was paired with Stephen Sondheim’s go-get-’em “Back in Business” (“…

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and with a blast!/ Let the good times roll!”). Dallas was indeed back in business, including a madcap duet with Denny of “You’re Gonna Love Tomorrow” from Follies (Sondheim). 

Her pairings fittingly drove her message home. George and Ira Gershwin’s “Home Blues” joined with John Kander and Fred Ebb’s “Home” (plus Kleinbort’s indelible additional words). “Nobody Else but Me” (Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II) is a rejoicing of love and being loved. This flowed into an extraordinary depth of conviction with “Bill” (Kern/Hammerstein and P.G. Wodehouse).

Mentioning her deep love for her husband, Dallas’ vibrant voice and interpretive honesty memorably delivered songs important in their life together, including “Summer Me, Winter Me” (Michel Legrand/ Alan and Marilyn Bergman). Especially poignant was a trio of “Timeless Thing” (Tom Snow, Amanda McBroom, Garry Brown), Leslie Bricusse’s “You and I,” and Irving Berlin’s “How Deep Is the Ocean (How High Is the Sky).” With these, she shared palpable emotions of love, memory, and the pain of loss, and later lifted the show to an exceptional pinnacle with Kleinbort’s tender ballad, “One More Spring,” from his musical 13 Things About Ed Carpolotti.  

Dallas is a fine actress, delivering stories in song with truth and personality. With a generous smile, expressive face, and stellar voice, she revealed the wisdom and experiences she’s gathered through life. Vocally, her lyric soprano, shimmering and clear, soared with “Younger Than Springtime” (Richard Rodgers and Hammerstein) and “You Are Love” (Kern/Hammerstein). With wisdom and reliance, she shared Jerry Herman’s down-to-earth words of wisdom in “Let’s Not Waste a Moment” (“There’s a short forever/Not too far away) leading into his “Before the Parade Passes By” (“I’m gonna feel my heart coming alive again”). 

And for her encore,  Dallas turned to “Once in a Blue Moon” by Kern and Anne Caldwell, remembering that, “Once in a Blue Moon”… you will meet the right one.”

Elizabeth Ahlfors

Born and raised in New York, Elizabeth graduated from NYU with a degree in Journalism. She has lived in various cities and countries and now is back in NYC. She has written magazine articles and published three books: A Housewife’s Guide to Women’s Liberation, Twelve American Women, and Heroines of ’76 (for children). A great love was always music and theater—in the audience, not performing. A Philadelphia correspondent for Theatre.com and InTheatre Magazine, she has reviewed theater and cabaret for the Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia City News. She writes for Cabaret Scenes and other cabaret/theater sites. She is a judge for Nightlife Awards and a voting member of Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle.