Katie McGrath: Aunt of the Year

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Katie McGrath

Aunt of the Year

Don’t Tell Mama, NYC, April 18, 2019

Reviewed by Marilyn Lester for Cabaret Scenes

Katie McGrath

Not too far into Aunt of the Year you might start thinking about how to convince Katie McGrath to be your aunt too. Lucky are her many nieces and nephews (14 of ’em); Auntie is a warm and loving charmer, and she’s funny to boot! Her revelation of the fantasy “Aunt of the Year” contest in her own head is hilarious. It doesn’t take long to figure out McGrath’s style is stand-up cabaret and in that, it’s different, refreshing, and completely entertaining. Her demeanor is a delight, with a honey-tinged voice and personal magnetism that says “genuine article.” If this endorsement of a kind and good-hearted person isn’t enough, McGrath volunteers for the New York Common Pantry, which benefits from the proceeds of the show.

Song choices cover many genres—from pop to rock to musical theater—and perfectly illustrate the smartly conceived narrative. For this self-confessed black sheep of her large family, the choice of Gene Pitney’s “He’s a Rebel” fits the bill.

The tale of an internecine competition with a sister for an upcoming godmother position ends with “(They Long to Be) Close to You” (Burt Bacharach/Hall David), while Stephen Sondheim’s “Now You Know” is applied to an episode of deception. McGrath’s style is relaxed yet animated at the same time.

The voice is pleasant, with hints of greater depth and gravitas possible with more trust in her vocal capabilities. She does well with story songs such as Jon Ims’ “She’s in Love with the Boy.” A slow tempo on “Rocket Man” (Elton John/Bernie Taupin) brings a deeper level of meaning to the song. On a lighter note, McGrath’s own inspiration, her Auntie Mame-like aunt, Dorit, is celebrated with Jerry Herman’s “It’s Today.” Her recent move to NYC is beautifully reflected in “Welcome to New York” (Taylor Swift) coupled with “Empire State of Mind” (Shawn Carter/Alicia Keys). Singing some backup and sitting at the keys was versatile music director, Rick Jensen. Aunt of the Year was ably directed by Lina Koutrakos.

Marilyn Lester

Marilyn Lester left journalism and commercial writing behind nearly two decades ago to write plays. That branch in the road led to screenwriting, script-doctoring, dramaturgy and producing for the stage. Marilyn has also co-authored, as well as edited, books. It seemed the only world of words she hadn’t conquered was criticism, an opportunity that presented itself via Theater Pizzazz. Marilyn has since sought to widen her scope in this form of writing she especially relishes. Marilyn is a member of the Authors Guild, Dramatists Guild, Women in the Arts and Media and The League of Professional Theater Women.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Dede Minor

    I wholeheartedly agree! If you ever, ever have a chance to see Katie perform, jump on it – otherwise you are missing out on an amazing experience – you’ll be so glad that you did!

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