Don’t Tell Mama, NYC, November 8, 2017
Reviewed by Bart Greenberg for Cabaret Scenes
Having admitted that her previous four shows, all with director Tanya Moberly, were based on very personal matters, Marnie Klar jubilantly announced that her new show had absolutely no connections to her own life. Instead, it dealt with the dreams, desires, and sex life of a wide variety of characters, each brought to life by this actress/singer.
The show was simplicity itself. After a brief introduction of its theme, Klar simply sang. Shifts in character and mood were indicated by adjustments in her hairdo. Some songs were cleverly linked together to create complete one act plays—“The Boy From …” (Mary Rodgers/Stephen Sondheim) and “Runaway” (Nik Kershaw) about an innocent and impulsive young woman caught up in unrequited love. And other works commented on the previous melodies in surprising ways; the aching “Something Cool” (Billy Barnes) was followed by a stark delivery of “Eleanor Rigby” (Paul McCartney). Throughout, the singer shows enormous sensitivity for those who live at the margin of society.
Klar possesses a strong and flexible voice and incredibly precise diction. And when she connects with devastating material such as “I’ll Be Here” (Adam Gwon), portraying a 9/11 widow struggling with new love, it is thrilling indeed. Not that all of the evening emphasized the darker side of life. Cole Porter’s “The Tale of the Oyster” is given a delightful delivery, and “100 Years” (John Ondrasik) it an upbeat ending for the evening.
Throughout, strong musical support came from musical director Steven Ray Watkins and bassist Matt Scharfglass.