Photo: Heather Sullivan

                                                                         The Dean of Divas Raises The Bar at The  Legendary Oak Room

Being the capital of cabaret, New York City has no shortage of world class cabaret performers. In a medium where the dolls outnumber the guys, KT SULLIVAN has established herself as the ultimate doll and dean of the divas of “The Great American Song Book.”

Her new act at the Oak Room proves to be her best ever. The material and carefully crafted patter flow in a stream on steroids from the lesser and (better known) songs of Kay Swift, including an especially poignant “Can’t We Be Friends,” through a rollicking version of Carolyn Leigh’s “The Best is Yet To Come, the ultimate camp rendition of” Mary Rodgers “The Boy From …,” and surprising interpretations of Edna Pinkard’s “Kitchen Man,” Peggy Lee’s “He’ll Make Me Believe He’s Mine,” Carole King’s “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” and Joni Mitchell’s “A Case of You,”

It all began with her acclaimed salute to Dorothy Fields, who set the standard for female songwriters. In “Rhyme, Women & Song,” KT Sullivan expands her vision to display the work of Dorothy’s peers and heirs who have enriched the Great American Songbook. Sullivan contrasts the inimitable Dorothy’s “Sunny Side of the Street,”with an amazing take on “Good Morning Heartache,” that rivals the gold standard set by Billie Holiday, who introduced it in 1946.

An hilarious closing medley of 29 cleverly linked songs (“my age” Sullivan says as a throwaway), concludes with a subtle and sensitive rendition of Jerome Kern’s and Dorothy Fields eternally lovely “The Way You Look Tonight.”

Ms. Sullivan has never been in better voice and her dramatic range, comedic timing and versatility  shine.

The amazing Jon Weber is musical arranger and accompanist., while John Webber(with an “h” and 2 “bs”) admirably assists on bass, giving Sullivan outstanding backup.

Not only is The Oak Room New York’s most consistent cabaret experience, it is also a genuine bargain. The show, including a three course dinner (food has improved markedly over the years) is about the price of a ticket to the anemic offerings on Broadway. And besides a venue steeped in history, you may be one of the fortunates who get a glimpse of Matilda, the latest in a chain of indomitable felines.

Shows are Tuesday through Thursday at 8:30 and Friday and Saturday at 8:30 and 11. There is a $50 cover charge for weeknight and late shows and $60 for early shows Friday and Saturday, plus either a $30 food and beverage minimum or $60 prix fixe dinner. Reservations: 212 419 9331 or bmcgurn@algonquinhotel.com.



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