Michelle DellaFave: The Michelle DellaFave Show

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Michelle DellaFave

The Michelle DellaFave Show

The Triad, NYC, March 26, 2018

Reviewed by Marilyn Lester for Cabaret Scenes

Michelle DallaFave

Michelle DellaFave has Las Vegas in her blood. Way back when, the singer, fresh out of high school in the 1960s, joined the Copa Girls at New York’s famed Copacabana nightclub and, shortly after that, became one of Dean Martin’s Golddiggers. These are experiences that inform her show, especially in the employ of two male back-up singers—DeVon Buchanan and Steve Geary—who, in addition to pleasing vocals, also provide plenty of beefcake with dancing and bits of business. The trio concept was especially effective on the twee “A Doodlin’ Song” (Cy Coleman/Carolyn Leigh)/”Doodle-Doo-Doo” (Art Kassel/Mel Stitzel/Ted Morse) and the 1968 hit “Am I the Same Girl” (“Soulful Strut”) (Eugene Record/Sonny Sanders). As the 1970s rolled on, DellaFave receded from show business to concentrate on family, returning to performing in 2007.

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As a mature entertainer, dancing has receded, with singing coming fully to the fore. There’s not much patter in the show and, a little surprisingly, DellaFave seems uncomfortable on stage when not actually vocalizing.

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Her voice remains strong and clear, capable of operatic heights, but she stays mostly in a mid-range comfort zone, proficient therein. The selections are varied, from “I’m Beginning to See the Light” (Duke Ellington/Don George) to “Life Is Beautiful” (Fred Astaire/Tommy Wolf) to the all-out finale, “Love Will Save the Day” (Antoinette Colandero aka Toni C). Arrangements are traditional, uncomplicated Vegas-style, with the focus on straight-ahead “entertaining” without bells and whistles. To complete the Vegas ambience, DellaFave was backed up by a proficient quintet featuring music director/trumpet player Richie Vitale, whose blowing gave substance to the music component of the show.  With him were Lou Rainone on piano, Paul Gill on bass, Robert Weiss on drums, and Chacho Ramirez playing congas.

Marilyn Lester

Marilyn Lester left journalism and commercial writing behind nearly two decades ago to write plays. That branch in the road led to screenwriting, script-doctoring, dramaturgy and producing for the stage. Marilyn has also co-authored, as well as edited, books. It seemed the only world of words she hadn’t conquered was criticism, an opportunity that presented itself via Theater Pizzazz. Marilyn has since sought to widen her scope in this form of writing she especially relishes. Marilyn is a member of the Authors Guild, Dramatists Guild, Women in the Arts and Media and The League of Professional Theater Women.