Faith Prince: The New York Pops Underground

Faith Prince

The New York Pops Underground

Feinstein’s/54 Below, NYC, September 24, 2018

Reviewed by Randolph B. Eigenbrode for Cabaret Scenes

Faith Prince

A wise man once said: “Keep it simple, stupid.”

Faith Prince does indeed keep this appearance as headliner (for the annual PopsEd fundraiser) fairly basic. In other hands, a showing like this could be perceived as paint-by-numbers.
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With just a piano, mostly Broadway standards, and a few general—but personal—stories, there isn’t much here to make a lasting impression.

Yet somehow Prince pulls it off.
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How could an evening, however elementary, feel dull with the innate charm that Prince exudes? As a “quirky leading lady,” she brings a flair to “Hurry! It’s Lovely Up Here” (Burton Lane/Alan Jay Lerner) and “The Boy from…” (Stephen Sondheim/Mary Rodgers)—each bewitching. The latter is so often fumbled by singers who underline its subdued humor with neon-lit emphasis. Yet Prince avoids accenting any punchlines, simply imbuing them with a quiet honesty.

In “Doin’ It the Hard Way” (Jimmy Van Heusen/Johnny Burke), she lets loose with an idiosyncratic allure that ricochets between hungry ego and muffled disappointment. It’s a choice like this that’s so bulls-eye perfect for Prince who, while always attractive, seems to come to the audience rather than the other way around. Again, in other hands this might seem laborious and desperate, but with Prince it just works.

Showing versatility, she also flaunts some villainous vim with a medley of selections of her ruffian roles, including a fabulous monologue from The Cake by Bekah Brunstetter. But, ultimately it was the subdued “Sweet Kentucky Ham” (Dave Frishberg) that leaves a lasting impression. Satisfyingly economical in her physicality, Prince weaves a portrait of a performer who finds herself with her post-show nights alone. This welcome departure from the typical quirks and brass cements the evening as a triumph for this Broadway and cabaret star.  

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.