Analisa Bell: Pass Me the Popcorn: Songs from the Movies

  • Post author:
  • Reading time:3 mins read

Analisa Bell

Pass Me the Popcorn: Songs from the Movies

Don’t Tell Mama, NYC, June 30, 2024

Reviewed by Bart Greenberg

Analisa Bell

Because Analisa Bell was the daughter of a movie projectionist, her passion for films and their music was practically imprinted on her DNA. For her new how, she charmingly shared some of her favorite songs from the movies, as well as glimpses into her life in her native Australia and her journey to the United States. She was aided by her creative consultant for this evening, Tony-winning Faith Prince. Music director/pianist Kevin Winebold provided apt arrangements and had his own chances to shine during the program.

The program began with an inventive arrangement that featured Bell’s shimmering soprano, which was a perfect fit for a medley of “Somewhere Out There” (James Horner/Barry Mann & Cynthia Weil) and “Over the Rainbow (Harold Arlen/E.Y. Harburg); the two songs blended beautifully. She followed with an excellent paean to movie palaces that combined the Warner Brothers title tune, “Larger Than Life” (Lynn Ahrens/Stephen Flaherty) with a wonderfully funny version of Straight No Chaser’s “Movie Medley” that played with the soundtracks of ET and Titanic. This was followed by a finely acted version of “If I Loved You” (Richard Rodgers/Oscar Hammerstein II).

Staying in a romantic mood, she performed “Moon River” (Henry Mancini/Johnny Mercer) with lush piano work by Winebold. Her voice seemed to be created for the Disney princesses, as she proved that with her powerful performance of the classic “I Want” song “Part of Your World” (Howard Ashman/Alan Menken). Encounters with crushes were amusingly explored with a tale about Heath Ledger followed by “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You” (Bob Crewe/Bob Gaudio), which segued into a darker and torchy “Dancing on My Own” (Robyn & Patrik Berger)—most effective.

She personalized the lyric to “What Ifs” (Neil Benjamin/Jeff Richmond & Reneé Rapp), and thereby gave a fine glimpse into her life experiences. Her rendition of the classic “I Happen to Like New York” (Cole Porter) was quietly passionate, though it could have built a bit more. For her encore, she offered her father’s favorite song, “Que Sera, Sera” (Jay Livingston/Ray Evans), which naturally lead to a singalong with the audience, and which smartly brought the show full circle. She summed up her reasons for doing this show with “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” (John DeNicola/Donald Markowitz & Frank Previte).

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."

Leave a Reply