The Times reviews the new show from the uber-diva: “Because her shows are ceremonial rites in which she channels the shades of show business past, Ms. Marcovicci might be described as the high priestess of the American songbook. The songs seem to pass through her body as she delivers them in an eccentric theatrical style that includes parlando passages.”
Playbill.com interview with Andrea Marcovicci: “When asked how she believes her cabaret performances have changed over the past two decades, Marcovicci answers, “My sheer comfort level and my ability to absorb distraction or, as I say when I’m teaching, ’embrace distraction,’ [has increased]. My humor – I was never anywhere near as funny when I started. I took it all very seriously. But my love for audiences hasn’t changed. If anything, it’s just grown and grown and grown. My actual, just sheer embracing of the audience, that I’m so glad that they’re there, so glad we share this great music and that we don’t allow the history of the music to die. Because it’s not just about the songs, it’s about where did they come from and how did they develop. It’s a very important part of what I do to keep the history of the music alive.”
Somehow I had missed this. Many thanks to Matt Howe for bringing it to my attention !
Viewers of Love Is a Many Splendored Thing in the early ’70s may remember Andrea Marcovicci as Dr. Betsy Steigers. On Friday Marcovicci returned to the Soap Opera world as a wise Italian woman on General Hospital.
And next week, New Yorkers get to see her in a perfect role, that of Coco Channel when the York Theater Company does 3 performances in their Musicals in Mufti of Coco! September 10 – 12. Tickets and Info.
It’s Perry-Mansfield week, a time of year when my heart goes back to Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Article about the program in the local paper. (And, needless to say, pay attention to Marcovicci’s stunning interpretation of “mountain chic,” particularly the anklets.)
Seeing Andrea Marcovicci’s tribute to Johnny Mercer at the Oak Room of the Algonquin, there was so much to appreciate about the show on so many levels. I found the experience dizzying as well as intoxicating.
First of all, there is Marcovicci as researcher and communicator. For the show, not only has she done her usual meticulous research on the subject of Johnny Mercer, she communicates it in a way that makes her audience feel terrifically smarter at the end of the evening. Moreover, she shares the insights she has gleaned while working on the material in a way that provides a greater depth of understanding about Mercer’s work.
On another level, it’s fascinating to see the way Marcovicci structures an evening to provide her audience with an emotionally fulfilling experience. See her luring the audience at the beginning with familiar, charm material. Then watch her define the evening, and then provide a series of emotional arcs, working toward a crescendo at the end. Note the way she slips in less-familiar material. Similarly, it was fascinating to see how she skillfully re-purposed material from her Astaire and Marcovicci Sings Movies shows as chunks in this show.
And then, there is Marcovicci the musical interpreter. She always has a strong point of view about her material, is totally on top of the story she is telling, and completely commits to the dramatic moment.
An example of the way this all came together came after Marcovicci’s discussion of Johnny Mercer’s courtship of his wife Ginger. After discussing the fact that Ginger was New York-based while Johnny was developing a Hollywood career, she then launched into a his-and-her version of P.S. I Love You and I Thought About You. Wowie.
(Oh, and, of course, visually she is a cabaret dream.)
And all of this is supported by the superb musicianship of her music director Shelly Markham. Not only does Markham provide arrangements that superbly support Marcovicci’s choices and interpretations, as a pianist he is magnificently in sync with Marcovicci. Jared Egan’s bass added a special dimension to the evening. And as a special Christmas Eve treat, at the encore Helen Marcovicci made a special guest appearance, singing the Mercer Come Rain or Come Shine and joining her daughter for It Was a Lovely Way to Spend an Evening.
- Something’s Gotta Give
- Spring, Spring, Spring
- I’m Old Fashioned / You Were Never Lovelier
- Out of Breath …
- You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby / Too Marvelous for Words
- P.S. I Love You / I Thought About You
- That Old Black Magic
- Accentuate the Positive
- My Sugar is So Refined
- Autumn Leaves
- Whistling Away the Dark
- Moon River / Charade
- One for My Baby… / I Wanna Be Around / Goody, Goody
- Come Rain or Come Shine (Helen Marcovicci)
- It Was a Lovely Way to Spend an Evening (Andrea & Helen Marcovicci)
The NYTimes on Marcovicci’s new Mercer show: “To attend an Andrea Marcovicci cabaret show is to participate in a communal rite in which it is tacitly understood — at least during the duration of the performance — that nothing today can match the magic and romance of old Hollywood and Broadway. An audience of a certain age agrees to gorge retrospectively on the illusions of youth from an era long before the proliferation of viral gossip and reality television. As the ceremonial priestess, Ms. Marcovicci plays a grand, smiling Hollywood hostess — a Loretta Young-like figure — throwing open doors to a rose-colored mythology.”
Andrea Marcovicci has released a “greatest hits” CD, As Time Goes By: The Best of Andrea Marcovicci, featuring songs from her many albums that have been released in the last 21 years. The recording includes tracks from a number of CDs that have gone out of print.
I am happy to report that my three all-time favorite Marcovicci tracks have made their way onto the collection: On Such a Night As This (the track that really hooked me on her first LP), The Sweetest of Nights (the perfect “occasion” song), and These Foolish Things (three verses of pure bliss). The CD is also encouraging me to go back and listen to her Berlin and Kern recordings, having forgotten how good the tracks from those were.
And clever cabaret diva that Marcovicci is, she throws two new tracks onto this recording forcing her fans who already have the original CDs to buy the new one. But her renditions of The Lies of Handsome Men and Young at Heart (not to mention the amazing Shelly Markham arrangements) are well worth the price of admission.
At this point in the review it is de rigeur for a critic to show how well he knows an artist repertoire by bemoaning cuts left off the CD. I won’t disappoint. I really miss her amazing version of Did You Ever Cross Over to Sneeden’s, the fabulously late-night One For My Baby, the intense negotiation in The Kind of Love You Never Recover From, and and the gossamer flight of It Happens Very Softly (from her shuttered-on-the-road starring role in Nefertiti).
Marcovicci recently had a triumphant 60th birthday concert at Town Hall — here’s a write-up.
Thanks to Francesca Amari (who just shared a bill with Andrea Marcovicc and Karen Mason at a concert at the Metropolitan Room) for forwarding this interview with Marcovicci about her upcoming Johnny Mercer show in Savannah:
“What surprised you most about Mercer that you only learned through crafting this show?”“Andrea Marcovicci: Oh, many, many, many, many many things! I was completely unaware Johnny was such a major recording artist and singer in his own right. That helped me understand how he so brilliantly set words along musical lines. I was unaware that he always, always worked to music first. So, he might have an idea for a song, but he’d go and find a guy to write a melody for him. So, he was setting his lyrics to someone else’s melody. Being a singer, he places vowels and consonants in a way that makes them ever so singable. I was really unaware of his singing, and that came as a delicious surprise to me.
Then learning each song again. You see, I already knew a lot of Mercer, but I had never approached it from that point of view. I was amazed at the compliments this past weekend on my voice. I said it’s just the way he placed his vowels. So, I am most grateful to Johnny for knowing how to do that. Because he was a singer, he knew just how to write for them. Oh, and the depth and the breadth of the different styles he worked in! He did so many translations, and did many more Broadway shows than I thought. You don’t think of him as a Broadway writer at all, and yet there were six Broadway shows to his name and a seventh on the way.”
It was terrific to see Andrea Marcovicci’s tribute to Fred Astaire at the Reston Community Center yesterday afternoon.
Having previously seen the show in two smaller venues, it was interesting to see how she adapted the piece to a full-sized theater yet was able to keep a cabaret intimacy. And of course Shelly Markham proved why he’s at the pinnacle of the cabaret music direction world.
I’ll link to my official Cabaret Scenes review when they post it.
Here’s her song list:
Night And Day / Something’s Gotta Give
A Foggy Day-Isn’t This A Lovely Day (To Be Caught In The Rain)?
This Heart Of Mine
Let’s Kiss And Make Up
The Carioca / The Continental / The Piccolino
A Needle In A Haystack / I’ve GOt My Eyes On You / I Used To Be Color Blind
He Loves And She Loves / ‘S Wonderful
I’m Building Up To An Awful Let-Down
They Can’t Take That Away From Me
One For My Baby (And One More For The Road)
Slap That Bass
Let’s Face the Music and Dance
Cheek to Cheek
Top Hat / Steppin’ Out with My Baby
You Were Never Lovelier
The Way You Look Tonight
I Wanna Be A Dancin’ Man