Kelsey Bearman: Lost and Found

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Kelsey Bearman

Lost and Found

Don’t Tell Mama, NYC, August 26, 2018

Reviewed by Bart Greenberg for Cabaret Scenes

Kelsey Bearman

The charming, very young Kelsey Bearman brought her strong soprano and subtle wit to Don’t Tell Mama. Surrounding herself with a star team of director Lina Koutrakos and music director Rick Jensen (plus her boyfriend Stephen Howard joining her for a duet and showing off some strong guitar skills), the tyro singer balances freshness with experience.

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Daring to open her set with a soft ballad, “Come Away with Me” (Norah Jones), she draws the audience to her.

For the most part, she fields her songs in an easy contemporary style.

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However, when she tackles a late-night classic like “Guess I’ll Hang My Tears Out to Dry” (Jule Styne/Sammy Cahn) and easily shifts into the perfect saloon style finding deeply felt emotions in the lyrics. But she seems most comfortable with songwriters such as Brenda Russell (“Piano in the Dark”), Michael John LaChiusa (“A Stranger”), and even Taylor Swift (“Hey Stephen”). She is also adept at tying in her musical selections to her personal relationships: “Empathy” (Joel Waggoner) paying tribute to her psychotherapist mother with this very funny piece. A sweet medley of “I Got the Sun in the Morning” (Irving Berlin) and “Your Smiling Face” (James Taylor) was sung for her father and his taste in music.

Bearman is clearly at the beginning of a bright career. It will be great fun to see where she goes from here.

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."