Ron and I are doing a NY cabaret weekend (Megabus up and an $85/night hotel thanks to Priceline).
I am still soaring thanks to the cabaret gods who combined elements to provide us an amazingly sublime cabaret experience seeing Julie Wilson at the Metropolitan Room.
First of all, it was amazing to see Wilson. Period. But this show, a tribute to Billie Holliday, seems to be striking a particularly personal chord with her. As anyone who has seen her in performance (or on a CD cover) knows, Wilson always wears a gardenia in her hair as a hommage to Holliday. It turns out that Wilson actually knew Holliday personally and even described having a fried chicken dinner cooked by Holliday at ther home.
Just think about that. How many direct connections to Holliday are left in the entertainment world?
During the evening, it seemed that Wilson was presenting the entirety of her lifetime of pain, joy, experience, and wisdom into each song she was singing. And although she occasionally needed prompting and help, the sheer commitment and will we saw on stage was a testament to the human spirit.*
Christopher Denny not only provided sublime musical support, but I have never seen a musical director listen so completely to a singer and adjust so smoothly to their varied needs. And also musically “disappear” so Wilson could have all the focus — an amazing example of low-key bravura!
And to top the evening off, not only did we go to see the show with our good friend Jim, but due to the vagaries of cabaret seating, Ron was on a banquette flanked by K.T. Sullivan on his right and Steve Ross on his left, with Gregory Moore of Cosmopolitan Orchestra fame on my right.
Here’s the song list (which will get a bit of research and updating):
- Them There Eyes
- Crazy He Calls Me / The Very Thought of You
- You’ve Changed
- You Turned the Tables on Me / You Took Advantage of Me / All of Me
- What a Little Moonlight Can Do
- I Must Have That Man /
- Don’t Explain
- I Call My Baby Sugar(?)
- Travellin’ Light / Body and Soul / Good Morning, Heartache
- That Old Feeling / My Old Flame
- Ain’t Nobody’s Business If I Do
- Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans
- Billie’s Blues
- (Encore) God Bless the Child
*Yes, this prose is getting a little purple, but it was that kind of night.