John Simon on Betty Buckley & Nikki Blonski

©2008 Bruce Glikas for Broadway.comMr. Simon weighs in on the divas appearing at Feinstein’s and the Birdland:

“It is inspiriting to see 19-year-old Nikki Blonsky take over the podium at Feinstein’s at Loews Regency for a solo nightclub performance and carry herself with the assurance and acumen of someone much older. …But her voice, too, is sizable, and she puts it to good use in a well-chosen eclectic program, whose songs—along with an expectable few from Hairspray—range from Cole Porter to Frank Wildhorn, Willie Nelson to Stephen Sondheim, and include the “Habanera” from Carmen in a French not immediately recognizable as such.

‘…when it comes to emotional immersion and consummate musicianship, Ms. Buckley has few equals, and no evening spent with her is wasted time. I enjoyed especially items by Abbey Lincoln and Tom Waits, and such standards as “How Deep Is the Ocean” and “They Can’t Take That Away from Me,” although “Autumn Leaves” and a couple of Antonio Carlos Jobim numbers do not, in my view, profit from Kenny Werner’s arrangements.”

Remember:  Betty Buckley appears this weekend at the Kennedy Center.

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