Rebecca Rozzoni: Come On-a My House

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Rebecca Rozzoni

Come On-a My House

Don’t Tell Mama, NYC, July 1, 2019

Reviewed by Bart Greenberg for Cabaret Scenes

Rebecca Rozzoni

Rebecca Rozzoni’s new show, Come On-a My House, was a mixed bag. It was sort of about Rosemary Clooney, and sort of about Rozzoni’s love life, and neither predominated.
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There was no demonstrable link between the two, and that was part of the problem.

First, the good part. The singer has a strong and well-controlled voice with just enough quirks to make it sound interesting. She also has a good ear for lyrics and connects well with them when she likes a song.
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Her “Love, You Didn’t Do Right by Me” was full of emotion, and her “Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep” was touching indeed. Even a somewhat rushed “I’ll Be Seeing You” ended with perfectly attuned phrasing. She also moved well, comfortably taking up the wide stage at Don’t Tell Mama. She made a very smart choice of accompanist in Alex Kamm, proving that sometimes our best choices are close to home—he happens to be her roommate’s boyfriend. She also included a musical guest star, the very handsome Anthony Caputo, who dueted with Rozzoni on “You’re Just in Love” and “Manhattan.”

And now for the strangeness: the first third of the program was devoted mostly to some of the mock-Italian songs that Clooney sang early in her career—some that became standards (“Mambo Italiano”); some wisely forgotten (“Mangos”). This could have been fun except for Rozzoni’s obvious disdain of the songs and that Clooney, a non-Italian, sang them, evidently unaware that Clooney, under the iron control of Mitch Miller, had no choice about what she recorded at that time. Other than in references to the film White Christmas, the jazz great remained pretty much unmentioned after that.

As to Rozzoni’s romantic life, she really didn’t have any unique or interesting anecdotes to offer, so why bring up the topic? She did include “This Can’t Be Love” and “If This Isn’t Love,” but she didn’t find a way to blend these two and the third “Love” song mentioned above in any sort of creative way that would have given the show a satisfying arc. Clearly a strong director might have helped Rozzoni reach her full potential as a cabaret performer. Hopefully, in the future she will develop a more fully conceived show to match her obvious talent.

Bart Greenberg

Bart Greenberg first discovered cabaret a few weeks after arriving in New York City by seeing Julie Wilson and William Roy performing Stephen Sondheim and Cole Porter outdoors at Rockefeller Center. It was instant love for both Ms. Wilson and the art form. Some years later, he was given the opportunity to create his own series of cabaret shows while working at Tower Records. "Any Wednesday" was born, a weekly half-hour performance by a singer promoting a new CD release. Ann Hampton Callaway launched the series. When Tower shut down, Bart was lucky to move the program across the street to Barnes & Noble, where it thrived under the generous support of the company. The series received both The MAC Board of Directors Award and The Bistro Award. Some of the performers who took part in "Any Wednesday" include Barbara Fasano and Eric Comstock, Tony Desare, Andrea Marcovicci, Carole Bufford, the Karens, Akers, Mason and Oberlin, and Julie Wilson. Privately, Greenberg is happily married to writer/photographer Mark Wallis, who as a performance artist in his native England gathered a major following as "I Am Cereal Killer."