The Amanda McBroom Project Is A Sweet Smelling Rose

  • New York Lifestyles Magazine
  • |
  • March 11, 2013

by Karen Feld

Thirty talented women pay tribute to songwriter and cabaret performer Amanda McBroom over four evenings and two weekends at the intimate Laurie Beechman Theatre. Eric Michael Gillett directs the Amanda McBroom Project with Jeff Cubeta on piano. Each evening, hosted by Gillett, presents a different roster of cabaret and theater talent –all are his students or acts he has directed– interpreting McBroom’s incredible musical numbers, both the well-known and lesser known. The musical selections were well chosen and showed the versatility of both McBroom and the vocalists. Gillett calls the production “an experiment” with different voices. Experiment, perhaps. But it works. The talent packed show went smoothly, was entertaining and was well-produced.

Saturday evening, KT Sullivan, director of the Mabel Mercer Foundation, sang “The Rose,” the theme song of the film with the same name popularized by Bette Midler. Gillett is always prepared with a wealth of amusing trivia. In this case, he related his brush with celebrity as “atmosphere” in the film. Sullivan presented a beautiful interpretation of the song with LaTanya Hall, Eva Kantor and Kelly McDonald doing harmony. The blend of voices was incredible. Another popular selection with superb vocals by Lorinda Lisitza was “Errol Flynn,” a tribute McBroom wrote to her father, actor David Bruce. When the very animated Stacey Logan (“Sweet Smell of Success”) performed “I Love Men,” we believed it. Rosemary Loar sang “The Bitch is Out” and connected with the audience with intensity in her eyes. The material each sang was right for her. As terrific as Stephanie D’Abruzzo was when she sang “Dieter’s Prayer,” even she couldn’t make me believe ice cream is awful. Tony nominee (“Nine”) and jazz vocalist Karen Akers reached perfection with “Crimes of The Heart” and “Beautiful Mistake.”

There are two more performances of this gem of a show at the Laurie Beechman Theatre, March 15 and 16 at 7 pm. For reservations, call 212-695-6909.

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