Niki Sorrentino: I’m a Rainbow

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Niki Sorrentino

I’m a Rainbow

The Duplex, NYC, July 28, 2019

Reviewed by Chris Struck for Cabaret Scenes

Niki Sorrentino

By being a little flamboyant and a little direct, Niki Sorrentino shared her story of resilience and personal growth. In the face of negative comments by random strangers and class bullying, she’s able to showcase fearlessness and passion, exemplified by her star turn. The title of the show represented her soaring spirit, which continuously came through in her stories and songs.

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Some of her best songs covered her story of strained relationships with the opposite gender. For example, she gave us a great rendition of “The History of Wrong Guys” (Cynthia Lauper) followed by “The Chain” (Fleetwood Mac). Combined, these two seemed to signify a mental reset as Sorrentino has transformed over recent years as she pursues a law degree. Rather than dwelling on being forgotten by her high school boyfriend, she’s performing Elle Woods songs from Legally Blonde that almost follow her own reality. My favorite was definitely “Blood in the Water” (Laurence O’Keefe/Nell Benjamin) where she sang about how a good lawyer should take cases when they smell blood in the water. She was especially good introducing case examples. For example: “Mr. Sholtz, hypothetical question: Would you be willing to defend the following banker accused of fraud?” The answer was always yes, no matter the debauchery involved.

Though she often chased after elusive success in relationships, she eventually realized that it may not be everything that she hoped for, recalling the classic “Is That All There Is?” (Jerry Leiber/Mike Stoller) to bemoan the fading of a love affair.

Sorrentino was aided by Heidi Siegell and Chloe Williamson on backup vocals throughout the show, but it was strikingly effective on this song; the pair introduced it while Sorrentino performed a mid-show costume change. Williamson was especially terrific. Though as she indicated by mentioning her law degree, Sorrentino wasn’t all about chasing validation through a relationship or forging alliances. She also took a funky spin on flying solo with “Defying Gravity” (Stephen Schwartz) to add a bit of spice to keep her show fresh. Given a wacky beat and a different note, the line, “No wizard that there is or was,” took on an even more contemporary vibe.

Stephen Gleason traded lines with Sorrentino as a disembodied professor voice to introduce “Blood in the Water.” Jeff Cubeta was MD/pianist, Matt Scharfglass was on bass, Tristan Marzeski was on drums, and Rob Mosher played a variety of instruments, most notably saxophone. Sean Harkness also provided his excellent guitar skills to the group. Sorrentino may be back with this show again, so stay tuned.

Chris Struck

Chris Struck's debut novel, Kennig and Gold, is due to be officially published in June 2019. He's written reviews for Cabaret Scenes since August of 2017. For more information about the writer, see