UTE LEMPER “VOYAGE” Chanteuse In Attack Mode: An Original

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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.

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EMILY BERGL OPENS OAK ROOM SEASON WITH A BANG IN “KIDDING ON THE SQUARE”

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In her Oak Room debut August 30,  brilliant young actress singer Emily Bergl, star of Broadway (Nora Ephron’s "Love, Loss and What I Wore,"), film (“The Rage: Carrie 2”) and TV’s Royal Pains and Desperate Housewives, roars into the Oak Room with more gusto than Hurricane Irene in the her exhilarating act: ”Kidding on the Square.”

A theatrical cabaret-act that transports the audience on a fast-paced ride through love, heartbreak and everything in between, ”Kidding on the Square” is told from the perspective of a modern girl and the eccentric characters she inhabits,

Something old (the Boswell Sisters “We Just Couldn’t Say Goodbye”; something new (Peter Brown & Robert Rans “Material Girl" by way of Madonna); something borrowed ( "Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart" as an evolving Judy Garland); and something blue (as in Bergl’s deliciously compelling version of “Billy Barnes jazz classic Something Cool,”); the show features a rich array of songs that include Roy Orbison’s “Cryin’,” Fats Waller’s “Ain’t Misbehavin’,” a poignant characterization of Rodgers & Hart’s “Ten Cents a Dance as a down-and-out hostess,” Dietz & Schwartz’ Confession” and an unexpected opening number, interpreting Noel Coward’s “Mad About the Boy”  with a serious bent: the lady gets truly angry.

In ”Kidding on the Square,” Bergl does what she does best, which in the case of this hour and fifteen minutes appears to be everything. It comes as no surprise that her acting, where, comedic, dramatic or character is a paragon of perfection, but she looks terrific is a slinky gray “pull apart” gown, that becomes a sexy dress and finally morphs into leotards and tights. Her movement is as controlled as possible in these small quarters. But the big kicker is the voice: A luscious lyric soprano that can go into a metallic chest, when the material demands, as in an hilarious rendition of the vintage Andrews Sisters“Bei Mir Bist Du Schön” that is worth the price of admission.

High points test Ms. Bergl’s. comedic, dramatic and vocal abilities, which she passes with grade “A” marks. Memorable Moments: Pink Martini’s song "Sympathique" from the 1997 album Sympathique,  and you needn’t speak French to get the nuanced meaning.”

Kidding on the Square”  is beautifully directed by Sarna Lapine with G. Scott Lacy as musical director and receives outstanding backup from pianist Jonathan Mastro (Musical director of the hit revival of "Our Town,)" with the talented Ritt Henn on bass and ukulele.

After a fun closing (“Dream a Little Dream of Me,”) Ms. Bergl encores with a heart-wrenching version of the Peggy Lee hit “Is That All There Is.“ And indeed, this is one of the few times in recent memory, we felt that way too about a cabaret act: Absolutely electrifying and not to be missed. Reserve now! The show will run through Saturday September 10th.

Shows are Tuesday through Thursday at 8:30 and Friday and Saturday at 8:30 and 11 pm.   The cover charge is $50 per person plus either a $30 food and beverage minimum or a $60 prix fixe dinner.  Reservations:  212 419 9331 or bmcgurn@algonquinhotel.com

 

Note: The new menu features an amazingly tender and moist Berkshire pork chop that is in step with making the Algonquin kitchen on a par with the atmosphere, entertainment and service one encounters in this truly great New York institution.

Click Here To Visit Emily Bergl’s Official Website

Click Here To Visit Website of Oak Room Supper Club

Copyright 2011 By Punch In International. All Rights Reserved

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