Lillias White: Baby-Makin’ Music

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Lillias White

Baby-Makin’ Music

The Green Room 42, NYC, June 18, 2018

Reviewed by Bart Greenberg for Cabaret Scenes

Lillias White
Photo: Joseph Marzullo

A heat wave blew into The Green Room 42, not from Martinique but from Milburn, New Jersey where Lillias White was in performance for a new musical, Half Time. Clad in white tights and a blue-green top, Lillias White took the stage—meaning she took the stage as Grant took Richmond, but with much happier results for all. The Tony Award winner proved why she IS a Broadway icon as she celebrated her career highlights in delicious stories and swinging songs, as well as tossing out some standards with a vibrant personality.

Starting off with a combination of “Blue Moon” and “Old Devil Moon” that swung to that lunar object, she connected with the audience. “Ooh! What You Said” (Hoagy Carmichael and Johnny Mercer) was a playful romp, while “Skylark” brought out the actress in her, interpreting and expressing every lyric. She got the audience involved with a riotous Harry Belafonte specialty, “Mama Look a Boo-Boo (Shut Your Mouth-Go Away).” And then came the big section of musical numbers White had performed on Broadway, each one a show topper: “Thank God I’m Old”; “I Am Changing”—a particular powerful performance; “Mama Will Provide”; “Brotherhood of Man”; and inevitably, the very welcome “The Oldest Profession.”

Music director Timothy Graphenreed kept up with the singer every step of the way, adding to the electricity of the evening. This is one heat wave that New Yorkers will welcome back any time.

Bart Greenberg

Bart Greenberg first discovered cabaret a few weeks after arriving in New York City by seeing Julie Wilson and William Roy performing Stephen Sondheim and Cole Porter outdoors at Rockefeller Center. It was instant love for both Ms. Wilson and the art form. Some years later, he was given the opportunity to create his own series of cabaret shows while working at Tower Records. "Any Wednesday" was born, a weekly half-hour performance by a singer promoting a new CD release. Ann Hampton Callaway launched the series. When Tower shut down, Bart was lucky to move the program across the street to Barnes & Noble, where it thrived under the generous support of the company. The series received both The MAC Board of Directors Award and The Bistro Award. Some of the performers who took part in "Any Wednesday" include Barbara Fasano and Eric Comstock, Tony Desare, Andrea Marcovicci, Carole Bufford, the Karens, Akers, Mason and Oberlin, and Julie Wilson. Privately, Greenberg is happily married to writer/photographer Mark Wallis, who as a performance artist in his native England gathered a major following as "I Am Cereal Killer."