Lainie Kazan

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Lainie Kazan

Feinstein’s/54 Below, NYC, March 27, 2019

Reviewed by Ron Forman for Cabaret Scenes

Lainie Kazan

Lainie Kazan displays her star power each moment that she is on stage. Although she sat for almost the entire show, it was virtually impossible to take your eyes off her as her arm movements and facial expressions create the illusion of motion. She has dealt nicely with her somewhat diminished vocal range, making up for the loss with her great dramatic ability. Her reminiscences between numbers were often laugh-out-loud funny.

The show opened with a montage of videos reminding us of the many highlights of her more than 50-year career in movies and television. She entered by walking through the audience singing a medley of “Both Sides Now” and “I Didn’t Know What Time It Was.” She then hilariously spoke about her early life with a mom who was a “Jewish Blanche Dubois” and her dad, a bookmaker (whom she thought was in the publishing business.

She then performed two uplifting songs: “A Cockeyed Optimist” and “Blue Skies.” She told of being invited to Judy Garland’s house and Garland asking her to sing. Kazan replied, “If you sing for me, I’ll sing for you.” After that story, she performed a very dramatic “Over the Rainbow,” including the verse never performed by Garland. She then did a medley of Garland songs from Meet Me in St. Louis and A Star Is Born. After describing her experiences as Barbra Streisand’s understudy in Funny Girl (she went on just once in 18 months), she sang what has become her signature song, “The Music That Makes Me Dance.” Before performing “I Fall in Love Too Easily” she said she has been with a large variety of men from Bob Dylan to Frank Sinatra. She began her closing number, “The Man That Got Away,” by speaking the first few words and ended by fading away softly. Her encore was a very Mae West-ish “Peel Me a Grape.”

Ron Forman

Ron Forman has been a Mathematics Professor at Kingsborough Community College for 45 years. In that time, he has managed to branch out in many different areas. From 1977 to 1994 he was co-owner of Comics Unlimited, the third largest comic book distribution company in the USA. In 1999,after a lifetime of secretly wanting to do a radio program, he began his weekly Sweet Sounds program on WKRB 90.3 FM, dedicated to keeping the music of the Great American Songbook alive and accessible. This introduced him to the world of cabaret, which led to his position as a reviewer for Cabaret Scenes.