Linda Purl: Try Your Wings

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Linda Purl

Try Your Wings

Catalina Jazz Club, Hollywood, CA, March 17, 2019

Reviewed by Les Traub for Cabaret Scenes

Linda Purl

Linda Purl opened her show with a slow and determined reading of “Pure Imagination” (Leslie Bricusse/Anthony Newley) and “Never Never Land” (Jule Styne/Betty Comden & Adolph Green). That pace commanded the audience’s attention and Purl held it throughout her show. Moving on to “Lucky Day” (Buddy DeSylva, Lew Brown & Ray Henderson), found her singing out in full voice. Throughout the evening she moved easily from rich, deep tones to a very musical head voice.

With the theme of Try Your Wings, the show was built around the idea of life as a journey and with dreams to be pursued. “Come Fly with Me” (Jimmy Van Heusen/Sammy Cahn), done in an unusually slow and sultry manner, courtesy of music director Tedd Firth, presented a pleading invitation that one could hardly refuse. Also touched on was spring as an opportunity for new beginnings with “Up Jumped Spring” (Freddie Hubbard/Abbey Lincoln), and parenting, along with some patter on the subject represented by a nice take on “Children Will Listen” (Stephen Sondheim).

A salute to Ella Fitzgerald found Purl displaying her jazz chops with “Too Darn Hot” (Cole Porter) along with his “It’s All Right with Me.” An emotional highlight of the show was her rendition of Christine Lavin’s “I Want to Be Lonely Again.” Cy Coleman was represented with “You Fascinate Me So” (Carolyn Leigh) and “Where Am I Going” (Dorothy Fields), which she combined cleverly with “Dancing in the Dark” (Howard Dietz/Arthur Schwartz). Purl uses her hands very expressively and naturally, which was particularly effective in that medley.

Her encore summed up the evening well with “Try Your Wings” (Dion McGregor/Michael Barr). Purl’s sensitivity to the lyrics was combined with a wide-ranging voice that was a pleasure to listen to. Her 12-year partnership with Firth yielded a perfectly tailored musical accompaniment.

Les Traub

Les Traub has been covering the cabaret scene for over twenty years. He is a co-founder and President of Cabaret West and has produced cabaret shows at the Jazz Bakery, Cinegrill, Gardenia, El Portal Theatre, Pasadena Playhouse and at UCLA. He co-produced and wrote a Sammy Cahn tribute show at the Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills. He is Chairman of the Board of Musical Theatre Guild, where he co- produced Sail Away, High Spirits, Little Mary Sunshine and Street Scene at the Alex Theatre. He has lectured on cabaret in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Connecticut. .