McBroom Sweeps Beyond Standards – POSTPLUS: Cabaret Review
Chip Deffaa, New York Post – Monday, September 22, 1997
I like the way Amanda McBroom, who’s at Rainbow and Stars through Oct. 11, has sequenced the songs “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?” (by Carole King and Gerry Goffin), “Dance” (a new number by McBroom) and “You Can Have the TV” (by Craig Carnelia).
Heard in succession, the songs seem to trace the arc of a relationship, from the blush of first romance, to doubts, to a final parting. Her skill as an actress, not just a singer, helps give the three songs a stronger cumulative effect. Nicely done.
But I found it jarring when McBroom decided, with misplaced generosity, to let accompanist Joel Silberman sing in his legitimate, stentorian voice for quite so long, taking the focus away from the star.
She then returned with the nights’ high point, “Errol Flynn”. It’s an unusually moving and succinct song…there’s not an extraneous word or note in its 24 lines…that she’s written with Gordon Hunt.
She and Silberman have concocted a couple of witty originals, including an answer to songs celebrating the slim and youthful, “Round”. It was amusing, although lines like “you may find me hanging lower from the bough but I’m easier to reach” would actually work better for someone older, plumper, droopier than the trim McBroom. (Sophie Tucker would have had fun with that line.)
Because the quality of songs varies so much, this show overall may be considered a mixed success. In particular, McBroom’s song about lust, “Hot in Here”, seemed disappointingly obvious.
But I like that McBroom always brings us some new songs by herself and other contemporary writers. And she includes some songs (like Lori Lieberman’s “Girl Writing a Letter”) that demand careful listening.
Performers who limit themselves to time-tested songs from the Rodgers and Hammerstein era are playing it safe. If cabaret is to survive, it needs performers like McBroom willing to take chances on writing and trying out new material.