Hopelessly In Love Review
October 29, 2012 www.cabaretscenes.org
Carole J. Bufford and Jennifer Sheehan, two of the brightest lights in a youthful wave of cabaret, joined the excellent Jack Donahue and special guest star Andrea Marcovicci (Shelly Markham on piano) to perform Hopelessly in Love: The Lyrics of Tom Toce. A wide variety of material ranged from ballads to comic turns, from a duet that sounded, both lyrically and musically, like classic Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme (“Glad We Got Away”; music, Kim Oler), to a swing number with contemporary lyrics (“Bye-bye, Aloha, Yo!”; music: Jeff Lazarus) in a nifty arrangement by Musical Director/pianist Matthew Martin Ward. (Boots Maleson on bass.)
Highlights were: “Michael’s Song” (music: David K. Israel), a gorgeous, melancholy ballad with deft lyrics phrased like halting thought, with a nuanced vocal by Donahue; the very clever “Shalom, Santa” (music: Douglas J. Cohen)—“My daddy is a lapsed Catholic and my mama is a cultural Jew”—ostensibly sung by “Margaret Koogleman Kelly,” here enacted by Bufford with just the right irony; “You Believe in Me” (music: Zina Goldrich), a sweet “thank you” which would be timeless but for the use of—ouch—“Bloomingdale’s”—-sung with ingénue credibility and lovely restraint by Sheehan; and “Ask for the World” (music: Toce), a mother’s advice embodied somewhere between a lullaby and an anthem, performed by the company.
If anyone could sell “The Night I Fell in Love with Paris” it would be Marcovicci, who put her whole heart and soul into it, but instead of describing the poetic City of Light, the “character” sings “it has museums, it has parks.” By the time we got to the payoff, there had been no romance at all to substantiate emotion.
Vocals were all first rate. The talented singers were expressive and lyrically aware. Between many numbers, Ward sang short phrases from earlier songs. The attempt at bridging was unnecessary and made no sense.
(Editor’s Note: During several performances of this revue, there were different guests stars and Marissa Mulder replaced Jennifer Sheehan inthe final perforamnces, which had to be rescheduled.)
Alix Cohen for cabaretscenes.org