Zachary Clause: Sherry Takes a Holiday

  • Post author:
  • Reading time:3 mins read

Zachary Clause

Sherry Takes a Holiday

Pangea, NYC, June 13, 2024

Reviewed by Bart Greenberg

Zachary Clause

Sherry Duvall-Covington is a brassy lady of a certain age who dresses loudly, speaks loudly, and lives loudly. She’s open to adventures—romantic, sexual, and otherwise—and her heart definitely leads her rather than her brain. The creation of performer Zachary Clause and director (and husband) Reed Whitney, Sherry has already had a series of hazardous but life-affirming adventures. This time she responded to an internet appeal from a young woman who claimed that she was Sherry’s long-forgotten daughter. (Sherry acknowledges that she doesn’t recall giving birth, but there is a decade of her life that was kind of fuzzy.) She took off on a Caribbean cruise that would hopefully lead to a reconciliation. Of course, things didn’t go smoothly.

There was more storytelling than music, perhaps a bit too much so, with long nonmusical sections that might have been trimmed. The music that was there was brightly presented under the musical direction of Chris Blacker with Alex Kerckhoff on bass and jojo SOUL on drums. The songs were drawn from the pop world, and there wasn’t a single number from Broadway—certainly a novelty in a cabaret/jazz room—but the selections fit the story well, and the songwriters ranged from Madonna to Stevie Wonder to Joni Mitchell.

Also joining Sherry on stage were two talented vocalists with comic flair: Megan Bowers and Brandi Knox. They began the show as back-up vocalists, but eventually they became embroiled in the story as well. Bowers duetted with Sherry on “Help Me” (Joni Mitchell), and Knox soloed on “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life”; they used their moments in the spotlight to show off their talents. But it was the title character who dominated the evening with such well-chosen numbers as “La Isla Bonita” (Madonna), “All Night Long” (Lionel Ritchie), and “Red, Red Wine” (Neil Diamond). She also had a great time interacting with the audience, flirting here, gossiping there, and even incorporating a photo request—”No flash!”—into the middle of a selection without losing the beat. The over-amplified sound did not do any favor to her top notes, but her energy never flagged. The trip with Sherry may not have been entirely without its bumps, but it was worth taking and it will be interesting to see where Clause and Whitney take her next.

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."