The press release for Irish-born singer Maxine Linehan's show concludes with a reminder that "you or your ancestors came here from somewhere, and this is your story too." It's a point Ms. Linehan emphasizes at the very top of the evening as well and, at a time when our nation is suffering another one of its periodic outbreaks of nativist hysteria, hearing it is like a breath of fresh air. It’s a reminder that, in the words of the late President Kennedy, we are “a nation of immigrants.”
When he learned I was on my way to review a cabaret show, my cab driver launched into a lecture about how boring the entire genre was and how cabaret singers just kept recycling the same old Great American Songbook numbers. If he had seen the remarkable variety of songs in actress Shanara Gabrielle’s debut show, "Rated SG," I think he might have revised his opinion.
Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine give fairytales a clever musical score, along with an abundance of whimsy and a gentle moral, in the tuneful, imaginative "Into the Woods." Already high on the list of Sondheim's popular musicals, the production is engaging for audiences of all ages, with a few unexpectedly adult situations and a slightly subversive sense of humor. The result is a bittersweet tale, touched by both harsh and comforting realities, that delivers its lessons with a light touch and hopeful tone.
I've always maintained that actors in general and musical theatre actors in particular have something of a head start when it comes to cabaret. They already know how to give meaning to a lyric and how to connect with an audience. As evidence, I offer up Ken Page's "Old, New, Borrowed, and Blue," which kicked off The Presenters Dolan's Gaslight Cabaret Festival on February 20 and 21.
The world premiere production of “Café Chanson” is an archetypal diamond in the rough: quality material that wants only a bit of polishing to make it into a gem.