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The Cabaret Project presents A Cabaret Double Header with singer and pianist Billy Stritch performing I've Got Your Number: the Jazz of Cy Coleman, followed by An Evening with Marilyn Maye with Stritch on piano on Friday, August 1, 8 PM as part of The St. Louis Cabaret Festival. "Stritch is one of the premier singer-pianists on the New York jazz and cabaret scene, a Grammy winning songwriter and Broadway vet.. In this brand new show, that recently played New York's Birdland as well as London (four stars in The London Times!). Billy explores the pop/jazz side of the legendary songwriter Cy Coleman...Marilyn's great career highlights include a Grammy nomination as Best New Artist, 76 appearances on The Tonight Show, with Johnny Carson, Billboard hits, countless club/concert appearances and leading theatrical roles. Her recording of 'Too Late Now' is enshrined in the Smithsonian Museum's Best Performers of the Best Compositions of the 20th Century collection alongside works by Billie Holiday, Frank Sinatra and Judy Garland." The performance takes place in the Sheldon Concert Hall. For more information: thecabaretproject.org.
My take: This is a pair of high-energy, dynamite performers. Mr. Stritch has a breezy, jazzy style that should be a perfect match of Broadway veteran Coleman's music. Ms. Maye is simply a force of nature, an authentic living legend of the cabaret stage.
The Cabaret Project presents Faith Prince with Alex Rybeck on piano in Have a Little Faith on Wednesday, July 30, 8 PM as part of The St. Louis Cabaret Festival. "Prince has been dazzling Broadway audiences since winning the Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards for her performance as Miss Adelaide in Guys and Dolls, opposite Nathan Lane. She counts 3 additional Tony nominations and 11 other Broadway shows to her credit, including a starring role in this past year's Broadway revival of Annie. Faith's career has included roles in films and television and she has sung with major orchestras throughout the U.S. Her solo cabaret shows have played in New York at 54 Below and Joe's Pub, among other venues. Her recent 2013 performance at The Royal Room in Palm Beach, Florida resulted in the live CD Total Faith and her award-winning performance, A Leap Of Faith, was recorded at Joe's Pub and available on DRG records. Faith takes the stage in her solo St. Louis cabaret debut singing songs from her career as well as from her heart." The performance takes place in the Sheldon Concert Hall. For more information: thecabaretproject.org.
My take: Ms. Prince is a major Broadway talent and Mr. Rybeck is one of the more in-demand music directors in the Big Apple. Expect big entertainment when you put them together.
The St. Louis Cabaret Conference presents the St. Louis Cabaret Conference Showcase on Saturday, August 2, at 7 PM. "30 singers from around the country take to the stage in a celebration of their work. This culmination of the 5 day St. Louis Cabaret Conference has become an annual go-to showcase for cabaret lovers in the Lou! Join us in celebrating 30 new faces of cabaret! Directed by Mailryn Maye, Faith Prince, Tim Schall. Music Direction by Billy Stritch, Tedd Firth, Alex Rybeck." The performance takes place at the Kranzberg Center, 501 North Grand in Grand Center. For more information: stlouiscabaretconference.com.
My take: I have taken the Cabaret Conference several times in the past, so I know the level of talent involved as well as the amount of care taken in assembling the final showcase. It's always a wonderfully balanced, expertly directed evening featuring talent from around the country as well as from St. Louis.
|Soprano Lucy Sauter|
(Blance in Streetcar)
My take: I won't have an opportunity to see this until next Friday, but I'm putting it in here simply because it's the local premiere of a major work by an American compose noted equally for his work in the jazz and classical worlds. I can't think of a more appropriate person to set Williams's classic to music. "Mr. Previn has a fine ear for voices," wrote New York Times critic Bernard Holland of the work's 1998 premiere. "He knows how to flatter and coax it and send it gracefully from one musical episode to the next.....one had the impression that Mr. Previn had been writing for the musical theater all his life."
The Cabaret Project presents The Streisand Songbook with Ann Hampton Callaway on Thursday, July 31, 8 PM as part of The St. Louis Cabaret Festival. "Platinum award-winning singer-songwriter Ann Hampton Callaway celebrates the music of one of America's most powerful and enduring musical artists: Barbra Streisand. Singing timeless classics from five decades of the celebrated diva's career, Callaway crafts a loving musical portrait of Streisand, the musical icon for whom Callaway has written several personally tailored songs. A Tony-nominated actress (Broadway's Swing!) and multiple award winning singer, Callaway puts a unique pop/jazz spin on unforgettable Streisand classics from Barbra's Broadway years, through her film and pop hits. " The performance takes place in the Sheldon Concert Hall. For more information: thecabaretproject.org.
My take: Ms. Callaway is no stranger to St. Louis audiences, having made numerous appearances at the Sheldon and the Jazz Bistro. She has a voice that is spectacularly flexible, equally at home in jazz, Broadway, and cabaret.
|Photo: Peter Wochniak|
My take: Call this a qualified recommendation. If you're a lover of Patsy Cline or country music in general, I think you'll have a great time at this show, which is really more of a celebrity impersonation review than a book musical per se. Jacqueline Petroccia captures Cline's voice and manner so accurately it's eerie and Zoe Vonder Haar is a hoot and a half as Louise Seger, the real-life Houston fan who became a close friends and correspondent of Cline. With over two dozen Patsy Cline hits performed to perfection by Ms. Petroccia and a six-piece band, the show is a real feast for fans. See my KDHX review for more information.
|Photo: Peter Wochniak|
My take: It's a sad commentary on the state of the nation that the cheerfully cynical satire of the mendacity, mediocrity, and Machiavellian backstabbing of corporate America that makes up the book of "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying" is as relevant now as it was when the show opened back in 1961. The Stages production is, as I write in my review for KDHX, a big, bright, hilarious technicolor cartoon that keeps the action firmly in the "Mad Men" era, so its sexism feels funny rather than creepy. The cast is wonderful, headed by Ben Nordstrom as perhaps the ideal J. Pierrepont Finch.