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UTE LEMPER

Performances through January 31st. The performance schedule is: Tuesdays through Saturdays at 8:45PM with late shows on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 10:45PM. There is a $50 cover charge with no minimum required. Dinner is served from 6:30PM. (Excellent Kitchen & Service). For reservations please call 212-570-7189. Visit www.thecarlyle.com for additional information.

Ute Lemper, international star of stage (Chicago, Cabaret, Cats) and screen (Pret-A-Porter), is unlike any other cabaret performer. In a select-world where anyone who puts together a group of songs (and that can be rock, pop, or obscure show tunes) can label it “cabaret,” it is a pleasure to see a colossal talent like Ms. Lemper, who is at once an historian, comedian, sex-goddess, actress and dancer — if we omitted anything please accept our apologies.

Lemper may be blond, of German descent, and exhibit a deliciously androgynous quality, but that is where the comparison with Marlene Dietrich ends. Here is a performer that can tease, taunt and tickle even the most jaded pessimist’s funny bone in a heartbeat.

Lemper must be the only mainstream cabaret performer who would have the chuspa to sing her opening number in Yiddish. Her antique velvet coat later gives way to a black gown revealing lots of bare skin and straps that cling lasciviously to a figure that can only be described as “Oh my God!”

Leper’s musical program, “VOYAGE,” is a journey through the sleepless cities and places of the world, between yesterday and tomorrow, either right here or somewhere at the end of the world…in music, poetry or silence – between war and peace…through the glossy upper world and the not-so-glossy underworld of whiskey bars and lost souls.

The journey includes musical reflections in Yiddish, Hebrew, Portuguese, Arabic, German, French and, of course, English. She saunters through sleepless nights of Brel and Piaf and includes the obligatory walk on the Weill side. There are also excursions with such offbeat contemporary writers as Tom Waits, Nick Cave and Elvis Costello. Alas, her weakest moment is an ill-conceived “September Mourn," an ode to 9/11 that is more interesting for its accompaniment than its message. All of Lemper’s arrangements and backup are first rate, thanks to Vana Gierig on piano, Mark Lambert on acoustic guitar and Todd Turkisher on creative drums. The diva and emissary of the Weimar epoch and political satire, Lemper, is not so vain as to sacrifice facial grimace, bridging on the macabre, when necessary. But nothing is done for effect. Each movement; every magical moment is delivered with precision and a raison d’etre.

Would any challenge daunt Ms. Lemper? I doubt it. She even achieves the near impossible mating of "Alabama Song" ("The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny") and "All That Jazz" ("Chicago"). It is part of a pre-closing medley that is riveting and the perfect set up for a quick change back to her opening outfit with the addition of a bowler hat. As if from the mist of an impressionistic painting, the haunting strains of the French composer, Erik Satie’s most famous piano composition (Gymnopédie No. 1 (1888)), segue to “Mac the Knife.” It is performed, as you have never heard it performed before. But then, in Ute Lemper’s world, that’s de rigueur.

Copyright 2014 By Punchin International. All Rights Reserved.

Disclosure



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