Lynn Henderson: There’s Still a Little Starch Left: Reflections on Aging, Downsizing… and Mascara

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Lynn Henderson

There’s Still a Little Starch Left: Reflections on Aging, Downsizing… and Mascara

Don’t Tell Mama, NYC, December 2, 2023

Reviewed by Bart Greenberg

Lynn Henderson
Photo: Matt Baker

Witty and warm, Lynn Henderson returned to Don’t Tell Mama with a show about the challenges and joys of the mature years. Kicking off her evening with the title tune of her show, “There’s Still a Little Starch Left” (Mel Mandel/Norman Sachs), she left little doubt about her philosophy. It was affirmed by her next selection, “But Alive,” which was interwoven with a bit of “I’m Still Here” in an excellent arrangement by her music director, Douglas Cohen (he also provided fine vocal backup). In fact, the two joined for a charming counterpoint duet on “One Step” by David Shire and Richard Maltby, Jr. Bassist Bob Sabin also contributed to the mood of the show. Then it was time to bring down the mood, but not the energy, with a tender medley of “Spring Will Be a Little Late This Year” and “You Must Believe in Spring.”

Another medley of perfectly matched songs combined “If I Only Had a Heart” and “Young at Heart,” along with a melodic hint of “You’ve Got to Have Heart.” This was both moving and very smart cabaret. Then for a nice surprise, Henderson offered an unplugged delivery of “Two for the Road,” complete with choreography by Mary Frances Roebuck who joined her on stage. After that, Henderson took a break and yielded the stage to Cohen who delivered another medley of “A Lot of Livin’ to Do” and “Don’t Rain on My Parade”; both numbers were musically and vocally impressive. Another surprise was Henderson’s meditative version of “I Am My Own Best Friend,” usually treated as a Broadway power ballad.

Other highlights of the evening included a celebratory “A Little More Mascara” and “Broadway Baby,” both of which demonstrated Henderson’s ability with Broadway material. This was also true of her very touching encore, “Anyone Can Whistle.” On the other hand, she showed a much more soulful approach on “God Bless the Child.” As it went from strength to strength, the entire evening was a well thought out, funny, and pleasurable event. Hopefully there’s enough starch left for another show.

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."