Naked Cabaret beyond bare!
Our Award: 3 Fringes
Produced by DC Cabaret Network
by Joel Markowitz
Part of Capital Fringe Festival
Judy! Judy! Judy!
I loved last year’s version of Naked Cabaret. This year I loved it less.
Although Judy Simmons is the director of this year’s rendition, her voice, her stage presence, impeccable timing and phrasing is sorely missed. (This week, July 19-22nd, Judy is performing her Sondheim cabaret at Signature in Arlington).
No need to worry, the five polished singers, sans Ms. Simmons, who appear on the Warehouse Next Door stage, all know how to sell a song.
Terri Allen’s rendition of “Make Me A Kite” reaches emotional heights at the tail end of the show. Lonny Smith beautifully sings one of my favorite songs by William Finn – “I Have Found” with great passion. Chris Cochran hit a home run with a Kinder and Ebb classic, “My Own Space.” Emily Leatha Everson’s is a great storyteller and her beautiful, clear voice filled the stage when she sang “Surprise Me” and “Hazel’s House.”
The luckiest of all the singers is Deborah Davidson who gets to sing two fantastic songs- Jason Robert Brown’s “Stars and The Moon” and the classic, “In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning.” I still have chills hearing Deborah envelope those beautiful melodies and exquisite lyrics with her gorgeous voice.
To be honest, the majority of mishmash of melodies and lyrics that comprise the show are forgettable. It’s a credit to the vocally talented cast, and musical director George Fulginiti-Shakar, (this year’s Helen Hayes Award Winner for the musical direction of Cabaret at Arena Stage) that they make these songs sound
PS The cabaret is not presented in the nude. Isn’t it amazing how the word “nude” sells tickets and fills up seats? Macbeth anyone?
(Running time: 80 minutes)