- Published on Sunday, 24 February 2013 15:04
- Written by Ron Forman
Photo of Marilyn Maye by Maryann Lopinto.
This month’s Lyrics and Lyricists The Many Voices of Peggy Lee is one of the best Lyrics and Lyricists productions
that I have seen in years. Hosted by Cabaret star, pianist musical arranger Billy Stritch; the show stars three of today’s most talented and beautiful cabaret performers Barbara Fasano, La Tanya Hall and Gabrielle Stravelli and in my opinion today’s best cabaret performer the amazing Marilyn Maye as special guest star.. The show features songs associated with Peggy Lee’s 60-year career as a vocalist but places special emphasis on ten of the songs for which Peggy Lee provided the lyrics. Billy Stritch adds interesting and often amusing commentary on Peggy Lee’s life and music between musical numbers.
The show opens with Billy Stritch performing a medley of two songs by Peggy Lee Thing Are Swinging / It’s a Good, Good Night. There were many great performances of the more than two-dozen songs in the show but some standouts were La Tanya Hall’s haunting Black Coffee,Barbara Fasano and Billy Stritch delightful duet of I Don’t Know Enough About You and the ensembles first act closing number Manana. Marilyn Maye brought the house down with a Ray Charles medley that Peggy Lee used in her Basin Street East nightclub performances. I had thought that Leiber and Stoller’s Is That All There Is was so associated with Peggy Lee that no one else could sing it effectively. I Was Wrong! Marilyn Maye’s acting ability, stage presence and life experience made her performance of Is That All There Is truly a memorable one. The ensemble closed appropriately with Peggy Lee and Dave Barbour (the love of Lee’s life) It’s a Good Day.
The Many Voices of Peggy Lee has two performances today Sunday February 24 and two performances tomorrow at the 92nd St.Y, Theresa Kaufman Hall.
- Published on Wednesday, 20 February 2013 11:50
- Written by Ron Forman
It takes a star as bright as Tonya Pinkins to out shine the beauty of the recently refurbished Joe’s Pub. On Monday evening, shine Tonya did in her show Bring On the Men, her command of the stage, sex appeal and acting ability kept all eyes on her while she was singing. Tonya’s voice is a wonderful instrument that can be loud and boisterous but also beautifully sweet as it was when she performed My Funny Valentine. Brad Simmons, the co-star of the show, marvelous work on keyboards and singing worked beautifully with Tonya Pinkins vocals.
The songs in the show are about the many aspects of love. Tonya and Brad do a rock version of Irving Berlin’s Anything You Can Do that might have Mr. Berlin turning over in his grave but had the Joe’s Pub audience in stitches. Most of the songs in the show were of recent vintage but Tonya did mix in some standards such as her beautiful version of Unchained Melody. It was great fun to see Tonya mingle with the audience while singing Jamie Foxx’s Blame It (On the Alcohol). The closing number was a rousing mix of Feeling Groovy and Irving Berlin’s I Got the Sun In the Morning.
Tonya Pinkins and Brad Simmons will be back at Joe’s Pub 425 Lafayette Street with a different version of Bring On The Men on Sunday March 24 at 9:30 PM.