Elle MacPherson: Happy Birthday, Mr. President

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Elle MacPherson

Happy Birthday, Mr. President

Feinstein’s/54 Below, NYC, October 17, 2018

Reviewed by Chris Struck for Cabaret Scenes

Elle MacPherson

Elle MacPherson’s Feinstein’s/54 Below debut displayed her obsession with our presidents in a well-crafted show that told the story of the United States from the perspective of its leaders in an up-and-down tale of greats and failures. I’m not sure I’d take her word about all the narratives she presented, but her timing and artful delivery made for delightful laughs throughout this quick tour of history. Starting with her praise of George Washington’s looks and achievements with “You’re Simply the Best” (Holly Knight/Mike Chapman), MacPherson entertained with song and story.

Weird facts and historic dramatic references aside, song choices were on point and were the highlights of the show.
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“Blame it on My Roots”(Garth Brooks) for Andrew Jackson and “Life Is Just a Bowl of Cherries” (Ray Henderson/Lew Brown) for Zachary Taylor were fitting and funny. Singing “Blame it on my roots, I showed up in boots and ruined your black tie affair,” MacPherson earned praise for her clear vocals and laughs for her capable delivery.

Other great selections included “Rehab” by Amy Winehouse and “Every Breath You Take” by Gordon Sumner. I’ll give you a second to guess the presidents who she paid tribute to with each. The first, of course, was Ulysses S. Grant whose habit of pounding back booze is well known. The other might leave you slapping your forehead as it is none other than Richard Nixon, who apparently followed his eventual wife around on her dates for two years until she agreed to marry him.
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What could potentially be framed as romantic or at least devoted could also certainly be characterized as possessive. He wasn’t one to let his love go her own way.

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Musical direction and piano were handled by Michael Repper. MacPherson was also supported by bassist Dominic LaMorte and drummer Luis Jaccome.

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The trio performed well making for another smooth, classy evening at one of Manhattan’s classier venues for good music and theatrical performances. MacPherson capped the evening with a cheeky salute to Trump, followed by a suggestion to keep peace in one’s thoughts rather than anger. It was elegant and timely.

Chris Struck

Chris Struck's debut novel, Kennig and Gold, is due to be officially published in June 2019. He's written reviews for Cabaret Scenes since August of 2017. For more information about the writer, see StruckChris.com