Singin in the Sun
....warms up her repertoire with smiles
A great cabaret singer moves to the sunny side
By GERALD NACHMAN
Cabaret chanteuse Andrea Marcovicci, who for 25 years has carried a blazing torch-singers lamp, has snuffed out the torch in her current engagement at San Franciscos Rrazz Room in a show that replaces sad unrequited love with requited joy.
Called Smile, her new show--on its merry way from San Francisco to New York City --reveals that, beneath the rueful and forlorn ballads that are her signature repertoire, there beats the heart of a happy, even giddy, romantic.
Marcovicci, who has always shaped her shows with great care, soul and wit, allows her heart to go bounding with glee through songs like Life Is Just a Bowl of Cherries, Aint We Got Fun, Pick Yourself Up, Make Someone Happy, Thou Swell, If I Had You and It Had to Be You (clever coupling), Its a Lovely Day Today and When Im 64. You wont find many, if any, cabaret shows that include Zing a Little Zong and Mairzy Doats, but they all fit snugly together. Well, almost all. I wasnt sure how Slap that Bass and one or two others fit the evenings theme.
She sings them all with an infectious upbeat spirit and radiant smile that the audience greets with its own grins that seem to reflect her own joyousness. In the second half, Marcovicci does do a couple of numbers that reveal a few gray clouds inside all the silver linings, but the dominant mood in this show is resolutely jubilant.
Everybody is so angry and cranky today, she says at the top of the show, so shes determined to lift our collective spirits a little, and lift them she does, sky high. This is an irresistible show, thoughtfully conceived and executed, filled with Marcoviccis exuberant personality and clever tossed-off observations.
I doubt if youll find a cabaret singer who manages, in the space of 75 minutes, to move from a salute to Hildegarde (sort of her matron saint) to footnotes on Bed, Bath & Beyond. Props clutter the stage like an attic and include a garish tea pot bought on EBay, a 1914 Liberty magazine, a framed photo of Fred Astaire and a kazoo.
Marcoviccis savvy showmanship and craftsmanship carry the evening even when she ventures beyond her vocal comfort zone. At 61, her voice is less supple than it once was (like most singers voices at that age), yet her glamorous presence, wrapped in a sexy vintage mesh gown, helps her slip through a few musical danger zones. She always dresses up for her role of cabarets grand dame.
The show is not just cheery but funny. Id forgotten how amusing Marcovicci can be, and some of her tossed-off remarks are laugh-out-loud funny, like a crack about going to the gym (The core! The core! I hate the core!), and she sings an unknown gem called Shakespeare Lied. If nothing else, Andrea Marcovicci can always be counted on to unearth rare lyrical jewels--of which she clearly is one herself.
©2012 by Gerald Nachman. The photos is courtresy of the Internet Movie Database. This column first posted July 30, 2012.
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