Barbara Fasano: The Whole of the Moon

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Barbara Fasano

The Whole of the Moon
Birdland Theater, NYC, February 5, 2020
Reviewed by Bart Greenberg

Barbara Fasano
By James Gavin

Barbara Fasano makes it all look so simple. Choose a fascinating mix of standards, modern songs, and obscure numbers from well-known writers. Share the stage with two top-notch musicians (Sean Smith on bass and husband Eric Comstock on piano). Look fabulous (before she had a chance to sing a note, a lady in the front row was complimenting her on her new dress). And sing!

Sing she did. A standard (“I Only Have Eyes for You”) received a delicate, shimmering rendition that invited the audience into a dream world. A lesser-known piece, “This Is My Night to Dream,” (James V.
Monaco/Johnny Burke) got a swinging, jubilant interpretation that sent Fasano dancing in place as she celebrated. And yet another classic, “Sand in My Shoes,” (Victor Schertzinger/Frank Loesser) swept us away with a sexy Latin beat. And these were just the first three songs of the evening.

Later, Fasano would sidle across the stage to team up with Smith (after purring to her husband “would you just excuse me for a minute”) for a performance of “Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea” that was so sophisticated and so funny at the same time. Of course, no evening with the married couple on stage would lack a duet or two by them, in this case a charming “Still in Love with You” (Billy Strayhorn) and a deliciously jazzy mix of “Witchcraft” and “How Little We Know.”

Throughout, the diva’s patter was warm, funny (her comparisons between the venue and her parents’ finished basement were especially endearing), and very personal. The only flaw in the evening was the lack of a point of view (the songs were intentionally assembled at random) which might have given the show a bit more structure.
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But this was a minor issue easily over-ridden by the delight of a singing storyteller (her “Remind Me” was a fully satisfying three-act play) holding forth with love.
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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."