Madelaine Warren: Mad for Romance

Madelaine Warren

Mad for Romance

Don’t Tell Mama, NYC, October 22, 2018           

Reviewed by Randolph B. Eigenbrode for Cabaret Scenes

jpg” alt=”” width=”212″ height=”212″ /> Madelaine Warren
Photo: Michael Bernhaut

Madelaine Warren entered meekly, but her ensemble twinkled with gusto, shining like a polished tea set. Composing herself in her first piece, “Out of This World” (Harold Arlen/Johnny Mercer), it quickly became apparent that the evening would be a love letter to, well, love. Warren is simply Mad for Romance.

It’s a cliched theme, indeed, but her song choices were the shining gems of this showcase. A maudlin “Laugh, Clown, Laugh” (Ted Fiorito/Sam Lewis/Joe Young) and a bossa nova “So Many Stars” (Sergio Mendes/Alan & Marilyn Bergman) recalled simpler days when melodies were grand and lyrics were simple. Similarly, her wistful “Stardust” (Hoagy Carmichael/Mitchell Parish), in a fabulous arrangement by Dan Wohlgemuth, elicited a nostalgic grin from both Warren and the audience. 

In fact, Warren is reminiscent one of those old-time vocalists from the 1930s and ’40s. Her tone is pleasant and her delivery is sincere.

Yet she illuminates very little in these pieces, seemingly restrained in the kinetic movement of their possible journeys.

It’s the impressionistic treatment of goldmines like “All of Me” (Gerald Marks/Seymour Simon) and “Just Let Me Look at You” (Jerome Kern/Dorothy Fields) that deflate what could have been Great American Songbook bliss.

Still, Warren delivered on occasion, particularly with a confident “On a Clear Day You Can See Forever” (Burton Lane/Alan Jay Lerner) that highlighted a healthy and ample soprano. And capitalizing on some humor, she let loose on “Vodka” (George Gershwin/Herbert Stothart/Otto Harbach/Oscar Hammerstein II), providing a much-welcomed palate-cleanser.

But, it was an unlikely pairing of “Lonely Town” (Leonard Bernstein/Betty Comden/Adolph Green) and “Another Hundred People” (Stephen Sondheim) that captured the best of Warren.

The striking arrangement, courtesy of MD Christopher Denny, synced the dissonance of opposing ideas into a cohesive musical motif. And Warren, ping-ponging between distress and distraction, deftly rode the ebb and flow, finally landing on forlorn resignation. 

Moments like that reveal Warren’s potential. But, otherwise, this show was more so-so than so-in-love.

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.