Goldie Dver: The Season: Straight Up, with a Twist

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Goldie Dver

The Season: Straight Up, with a Twist

Don’t Tell Mama, NYC, December 3, 2023

Reviewed by Shannon Hunt

Goldie Dver
Photo: Conor Weiss

The spirit of giving was in the air at Don’t Tell Mama when some of cabaret’s best took the stage for a holiday show that benefited the St. Jude Research Hospital. Hosted by MAC Award winner Goldie Dver (pictured), the show immediately set a playful mood, kicking off the night with Sidney Myer’s hilarious rendition of “Santa Baby” (Philip Springer/Joan Javits). Dver then delighted the packed crowd with Jerry Herman’s “Just Leave Everything to Me”; she added some new and clever lyrics written by director James Beaman that managed to name-drop all of the night’s performers. Joined by her music director and pianist Michael Roberts, bassist John Miller, and drummer Chip Fabrizi, Dver dazzled the stage in a shimmering party dress, looking holiday-perfect while keeping the night relaxed and fun.

Among the many highlights of the evening were Aaron Lee Battle’s energized performance of “Feeling Good” (Anthony Newley/Leslie Bricusse), and Lennie Watts’ flawless take on “Celebrate Me Home” (Bob James/Kenneth Clark Loggins). One of the funniest moments was Carolyn Montgomery’s performance of “Christmas in Bed,” a refreshing and surprisingly sexy number she wrote with Scott Harris and Buck Bucholz; I hope it becomes a new Christmas-song tradition everywhere.

The show ended with Stephen Schwartz and Steve Young’s “The Chanukah Song (We Are Lights),” a hauntingly beautiful and poignant number in which all the night’s performers join as they held lights. Topped off by a visit from Santa Claus (a fabulous portrayal by Michael L. Walters), the event raised thousands for St. Jude, and hopefully it will return to Don’t Tell Mama as an annual holiday tradition. You can donate to the children’s cancer charity at