Matter of Taste
was around for a long time before such issues as theme, structure, and patter,
were a concern. Mabel Mercer, for instance, would sit on a chair and take requests.
My point is that you do not need to have a theme in order to create a well-spent
hour in an intimate setting. However, should you choose to do a theme show, do
your homework-and get it right. It can be subtle, revelatory, or simply have a
unifying element. A theme can also be designed to take your audience on a journey.
Regardless of the reason, if you connect with yourself your material, and, above
all, the audience, you will have a show that works on all levels.
is the case with several shows that I've caught lately. All share a commonalty,
including meeting the canon that determines the success of any show, i.e. that
it be thoroughly entertaining and leave the audience wanting more. Maybe it's
a matter of taste: good taste.
of good taste, I can't think of a better example than shimmering soprano Lorna
Dallas, who is offering one of the season's finest evenings of cabaret currently
on the boards. In her show "Glamorous Night," skillfully directed by
Barry Kleinbort and musical-directed by Christopher Denny, she pays tribute to
the songs of lyricist Ivor Novello and composer Jerome Kern, whose collaborations
include classic shows like "Very Warm for May" and "Arc de Triomphe."
engaging thrush, who has been a mainstay of the BBC and the London stage for years,
shows great affection for the songs she has chosen-and what a grab bag she delivers!
There's the familiar beauty "All The Things You Are," sung in a voice
as powerful as it is subtle. The sheer color of her controlled diminuendo on the
likes of "You Are Love" sweeps the audience with its passionate phrasing.
This resolves itself into delicate sustained notes in an almost painfully beautiful
reading. It was as though she were wringing each passage out of the deepest recesses
of her emotional being.
medley of "My Heart Belongs to You" and "Love Made the Song"
climbed from dramatic intensity to sheer musical loveliness. The discipline and
locution of "Bill," from "Show Boat," was sensitive and heartbreaking.
For sheer risqué fun, she was a laugh riot on "Nuts in May" and
"Josephine," a song she unearthed that hadn't been heard in 60 years!
the way, many humorous and absorbing anecdotes illuminate this superb show that
should be seen by every cabaret singer climbing the ladder. This is how it can,
and should be, done when an artist totally connects with the material and the
audience. This may be her local club "debut" but, make no mistake, Lorna
Dallas is one of a handful of today's truly great cabaret singers. This is a rare
opportunity to see a perfect show by a beautiful lady at the peak of her craft.
Denny's lush arrangements and keyboard sensitivity couldn't be better, nor could
bassist Bob Renino's excellent musicianship. Dallas is at The FireBird on Thurs.,
March 17, at 9 pm; and Fri., March 18, at 9pm and 11pm.