Corinna Sowers Adler: Second Stories

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Corinna Sowers Adler

Second Stories

The Triad Theater, NYC, April 22, 2018

Reviewed by Marilyn Lester for Cabaret Scenes

jpg” alt=”” width=”212″ height=”212″ /> Corinna Sowers Adler
Photo: Maryann Lopinto

Most songs are stories, some more so than others, placing them in the category of “story songs.” In Second Stories, Corinna Sowers Adler bookended a splendidly thought-out show with two perfect numbers: “The Story” (Brandi Carlile) and “More to the Story” (Jeanine Tesori/David Lindsay-Abaire). In between, eleven more songs told stories from points of view from the sad to happy to comic and pointed. With just enough narrative to set up the tales without intruding upon them, Adler became a shanachie of song, interpreting the lyric of each with ease.

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She’s poised and polished, exuding a great confidence and an anchored stage presence.

Adler as a vocalist is impeccable.

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The voice is bright and clear and capable of an extraordinary range, which she demonstrated liberally. Despite some rare forays into shrillness, the upper, operatic range is especially impressive. But what drove the show was her acting ability, which helped animate the stories contained in the lyric. This skill was a boon in the intensity of numbers such as “Fancy” (Bobbie Gentry) and “One Tin Soldier” (Dennis Lambert/Brian Potter). Comic chops were demonstrated on “Instant Passion” (Garry Novikoff), “The Girl in 14G” (Tesori/Dick Scanlan), and the wry “He Thinks He’ll Keep Her” (Mary Chapin Carpenter), in which she was aided by ultra-cool back-up singers Mark Szep and (her husband) Nicholas Adler. With Meg Flather’s “On the Second Floor,” the diva reached emotional depth, skirted upon in many of the numbers. This is an area that Adler might explore more—of allowing herself to be less controlled and more abandoned in delivery.

Providing excellent musical support were music director and pianist James Horan (whose tango arrangement of “Instant Passion” was sheer delight), with David Rosenthal (guitar), Christian Fabian (bass), and Johgkuk Kim (drums). Adler student Elizabeth Nucci appeared as a guest vocalist, dueting confidently with her mentor on “On the Second Floor.”

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.