Lynn Henderson: A Skitch in Time: My Tribute to Maestro Skitch Henderson

Lynn Henderson

A Skitch in Time: My Tribute to Maestro Skitch Henderson

Don’t Tell Mama, NYC, April 10, 2018

Reviewed by Randolph B. Eigenbrode for Cabaret Scenes

Lynn Henderson
Photo: Michael Stever

Late in her program, Lynn Henderson sang those famous lyrics: “I love to hear somebody play upon a piano,” and—indeed—we got “carried away.”

For a tribute to conductor and composer Skitch Henderson (no relation), it’s apparent just how grand the scope of his music was—  conducting the original The Tonight Show with Steve Allen; music-directing stars like Judy Garland, Bing Crosby, and Frank Sinatra; starting the New York Pops—were merely a few footnotes on an illustrious career. And Lynn Henderson’s music director, Douglas J. Cohen, expertly brings these Great American Songbook classics to life in a series of catchy medleys and unexpected arrangements.

Henderson modestly narrates the stories and performs the songs, both without adornment.

Perhaps with another performer this lack of singularity would be a detriment. But, with her cool tenderness combined with a reverence for both material and subject matter, we settle into Henderson’s storytelling with ease.

And sometimes even magic occurs. Henderson’s simplicity met Cohen’s brilliant pairing of “Let’s Eat Home” (Dave Frishberg) and “Welcome Home” (Harold Rome) with a sobering honesty.  Bewitching and emotionally accessible, Skitch would have been proud.

Ultimately, though, it’s the songs that prove their artistic merit. What’s more joyous than hearing “It’s De-Lovely” (Cole Porter), “The Trolley Song” (Hugh Martin), “How About You?” (Burton Lane/Ralph Freed) or “Heart and Soul” (Hoagy Carmichael/Frank Loesser)? You could feel the audience tap along to “Strike Up the Band” (George Gershwin/Ira Gershwin)—particularly when led with a flashy drum solo by New York Pops and The DIVA Jazz Orchestra’s percussionist Sherrie Maricle.

And after her encore, Cohen played out with “Old Friends” (Stephen Sondheim) as Henderson navigated herself to the back of the room. Almost in unison, the crowd broke out in choral expression.


“Hey, old friend. Are you okay, old friend?” they sang.

And with this Tribute, these old Songbook friends are once again new.  

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.