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.”