Linda Lavin: Linda Lavin with Billy Stritch

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Linda Lavin

Linda Lavin with Billy Stritch

Café Carlyle, NYC, May 8, 2018

Reviewed by Ron Forman for Cabaret Scenes

Linda Lavin
Photo: David Andrako

Linda Lavin is best known for her work in the title role of the long-running television series Alice, but earlier in her career she had made her mark on the New York musical stage in The Mad Show and It’s a Bird…It’s a Plane…It’s Superman. She is backed by an excellent jazz quartet featuring music director Billy Stritch (piano), Tom Hubbard (bass), Ron Affif (guitar), and Steve Bakunas (her husband, guitar), that works nicely with her sound as a jazz singer.

Special guest violinist Aaron Weinstein joined the quartet on some numbers and sparkled in his one solo.

Lavin displayed a flair for comedy in her banter with Stritch and in her comedic numbers.


The show opened with the five musicians doing a jazzy “Oh, Lady Be Good!” with each taking a solo turn. Lavin eyed everyone in the room with her opening medley of “I’ve Got My Eyes on You” and “You Do Something to Me.” She reprised a song that she had introduced in It’s a Bird…It’s a Plane… It’s Superman—“You’ve Got Possibilities”—which was the only song in the production to have a life outside of the show. She and Stritch combined for a delightful “Best of Friends.” Lavin had introduced Mary Rodgers and Stephen Sondheim’s bossa nova parody “The Boy from…

” and performed it as hilariously now as when I saw her do the number more than 50 years ago in The Mad Show.

Lavin replaced Stritch on piano and accompanied herself on “Long Ago and Far Away.” She combined with her husband for a duet on a medley of “Let’s Get Lost”/”Let’s Eat Home.” Weinstein dazzled with his virtuoso violin performance of “After You’ve Gone.” As this was the Carlyle, Lavin mentioned that Bobby Short was her inspiration, before performing a medley of Short favorites. She closed with the bossa nova number “No More Blues” (“Chega de Saudede”). The encore gave the musicians one more chance to show their stuff on a swinging “How High the Moon.”

Ron Forman

Ron Forman has been a Mathematics Professor at Kingsborough Community College for 45 years. In that time, he has managed to branch out in many different areas. From 1977 to 1994 he was co-owner of Comics Unlimited, the third largest comic book distribution company in the USA. In 1999,after a lifetime of secretly wanting to do a radio program, he began his weekly Sweet Sounds program on WKRB 90.3 FM, dedicated to keeping the music of the Great American Songbook alive and accessible. This introduced him to the world of cabaret, which led to his position as a reviewer for Cabaret Scenes.