AMANDA McBroom, Pizza on the Park
It is only in recent recent years that the name of singer-songwriter Amanda McBroom as a performer has meant anything to London. Many will know of her works as a songwriter. She wrote The Rose for the Bette Midler film of the same name, since when the likes of Manhattan Transfer, Judy Collins, Anne Murray, Barry Manilow and Barbara Cook have all been attracted to her marvelous way with lyrics, a kind of urban poetry style imbued with both humor and pathos. This is obviously a lady who feels and cares about life and people with a passion that infuses her work. Coupled to that is the fact that she also has a great voice, as you can tell from her latest album called A Waiting Heart (on Gecko records). I suppose with the singer performing her own material you do get definitive interpretations, however good other artists may be. Listen to Amanda singing her Errol Flynn song, a plangent piece in memory of her father, Hollywood actor David Bruce, and you get the full effect of her sentiments without any undue sentimentality.
I first caught Amanda singing in New York at the old Russian Tea Room, one of the nicest cabaret spots, but sadly now defunct. However, it was three years later before she came to London, and since then she has appeared regularly at Pizza on the Park, although not regularly enough for my liking. Since her last visit two years ago she has been touring the States and working on songs for animated films such as Land Before Time V11, An American Tail 111 and Hercules and Xena. When it comes to cabaret, she is one of those artists, like Andrea Marcovicci, Liliane Montevecchi and Barbara Cook who define their own territory, performing impeccably and creating a world of their own making.
It was the work of Jacques Brel that introduced Amanda McBroom to singing and she does some superb versions of his songs, along with numbers by Rupert Holmes, Carole King and Craig Carnella. She is the past-mistress of the medley and puts together, with her music director and accompanist Joel Silberman, a fine coupling of Carole King’s Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow? and her own Dance. She has fun with her own recent song called “Monica” about you know who, and a little ditty about wanting to be ’round’ because, since her arrival in Britain, Amanda confesses to a liking for spotted dick and clotted cream. She’s not a broccoli girl, but more a creme brulee person, she admits in song, and who shall say her nay? She looks pretty good on it, and really not at all round.
The classics and the standards are not forgotten in beautiful versions of Rogers and Hart’s My Funny Valentine and Rogers and Hammerstein’s Out of My Dreams and Amanda ends her first set with a perfect All the Things You Are. Joel Silberman pays tribute to Duke Ellington in a rousing version of Don’t Get Around Much Anymore during what is, to say the very least, a very special evening the like of which I don’t think Pizza on the Park has seen in a long time. Don’t’ miss!