An all-American Voice
Stephen Holden, The New York Times
Steeped in the traditions of the European boite and the Manhattan after-hours club, cabaret is not a genre that is readily associated with the musical climate of sunny California. But as Amanda McBroom, a singer, songwriter and actress from Los Angeles, demonstrates in her wonderful new act at the Russian Tea room, there is definitely a place for an extroverted all-American voice in a genre that is too often associated with an attitude of world-weary sophistication.
Ms. McBroom, who is still best known for writing the title song for the Bette Midler film “The Rose”, has appeared sporadically in New York for nearly a decade. During that time she has grown steadily more accomplished as a performer. Most of the songs in her show, which plays Thursdays through Saturdays through May 22, are originals.
Finely wrought folk-flavored pop songs for adults, they range from heartfelt dramatic monologues )”Ship in a Bottle”, “Dreaming”) to jokey numbers like “Reynosa”, a comic reminiscence of her high school years spent in Texas, near the Mexican border. The narrators of several of her best songs are married women who feel trapped and disenchanted in mundane existences.
Ms. McBroom, whose singing is packed with emotion, has a full-bodied pop alto that breaks from a chesty lower register into a luscious middle range. Accompanied by Joel Silberman on piano at Saturdays early show, she brought an openhearted honesty to performances that were so intense that at moments they left her misty-eyed.
Like most of the best cabaret performers, Ms. McBroom is as engaging a storyteller as she is a singer, and her show was peppered with anecdotes.