Christine Ebersole in Baltimore

May 27, 2012

I got to see Christine Ebersole last month at the Baltimore Hebrew Congregation’s Night of the Stars benefit.  Only after agreeing to attend the event did I find that Cabaret Scenes has a policy of not reviewing benefit performances.

So here’s what my review would have been:

Christine Ebersole’s star power was in full force at her appearance at the Night of the Stars benefit in Baltimore. Her stage persona is charming and snappy, and she delivers zingers with a keen wit and concentrated energy.

She is a dynamic, supple singer who can nimbly deliver a song in a great many styles.  She can swing with the best in a number like “Strike Up the Band.”  She can project a sophisticated wit on the Coward song “What’s Going to Happen to the Tots?” And she can bring a wistful smile with “Right as the Rain.”

Every individual moment of her show was charming and entertaining.  Unfortunately, despite direction from Scott Whitman, the show as a whole was surprisingly unfocused with occasionally jarring non-sequiturs.  For example a funny story about Ebersole sending her husband off to brain surgery with the sentiment “If you die, I’ll kill you” was followed by a serious rendition of “I Loves You, Porgy.”

Ebersole also has the enviable problem that she is such a competent and versatile vocalist, that when presented with the generic arrangements that music director John Oddo provided she fit into the needs and mood of each particular arrangement.  Unfortunately the adeptness of her versatility meant that her musical persona was far less interesting and less consistent than her patter persona, giving the evening an all-over-the-map feeling to it.

Stephen Holden on Christine Ebersole

February 8, 2010

The NYTimes on the singing actress appearing at the Carlyle: “Christine Ebersole materialized like a goddess formed out of the ectoplasm in screwball heaven at Wednesday’s opening-night performance of her new show at the Café Carlyle. From what other celestial realm could this dizzy, curly headed blonde with a soprano whose wheeling vibrato evokes Jeanette MacDonald with a whiff of helium have originated?”

Nelson Pressley on Christine Ebersole

November 16, 2009

Song stylist: Christine Ebersole performed at the Terrace Theater.The Washington Post on Ebersole’s Kennedy Center concert:  “Plain wonderful is the way to describe Christine Ebersole’s jazzy, polished 80-minute set Saturday night at the Kennedy Center Terrace Theater.”

Next Year’s Barbara Cook’s Spotlight Series

March 5, 2009

The Kennedy Center has made it’s announcement about attractions for next season. 

Here’s the line-up for the Barbara Cook’s Spotlight series:

  • Cheyenne Jackson (Oct. 9)
  • Christine Ebersole (Nov. 14)
  • Karen Akers (Dec. 12)
  • Daniel Evans and Jenna Russell (April 30, 2010)
  • Jessica Molaskey and John Pizzarelli (June 4, 2010)

Stephen Holden on Christine Ebersole

January 23, 2009

The NYTimes really, really likes the show: “It would be only mildly overstating my delight at Christine Ebersole’s effervescent new act at the Café Carlyle to announce that I’m in love again.”

Stephen Holden on Christine Ebersole & Billy Stritch

November 29, 2008

The NYTimes on the pair appearing at Birdland: “Midway through “Winter Wonderland,” the amiable new holiday show that Christine Ebersole and Billy Stritch brought to Birdland on Wednesday evening, the madcap nightingale locked inside Ms. Ebersole stole out of its cage. That exotic bird has a high soprano with a spinning vibrato that is one part gramophone voice and two parts light operatic ingénue; its sound is beautiful and weird.”

Christine Ebersole & James Naughton at Strathmore

November 12, 2008

I saw Christine Ebersole and James Naughton in concert at Strathmore Sunday night. 

Wow, what great performers these two are.  I had never seen Ebersole live before, but now I can say that the recordings and videos of her really don’t convey the power she has for a live audience.  And is it just me, or is she Kristen Chenowith in 2 decades?  Sadly James Naughton’s fabulous looks were a little dimmed by a leonine hairstyle and beard he is currently sporting due to a run in The Master Builder Off-Broadway.

I’ll link to my review when Cabaret Scenes runs it. 

Something not in the review that I feel the need to comment on is that the show had the worst lighting I’ve seen in a concert venue in a while.  At the beginning of the show, the audience was sitting in the dark a good 2 minutes before the BAND came on, the follow spot didn’t always manage to follow, and the performers were really unflatteringly lit.  On the positive side, this is a reminder of what a terrific job local venues (including Strathmore) normally do on lights and sound for performers.

Here’s their set list:

  • How About You? — Both
  • I Got the Sun in the Morning — Ebersole
  • This Little Town is Paris– Ebersole
  • Real Live Girl– Naughton
  • My Foolish Heart– Naughton
  • No Bout Adoubt It– Ebersole
  • I’ve Been Everywhere– Naughton
  • How Are Things in Glocca Morra– Ebersole
  • The Doodling Song — Both (OK — I’m guessing the title on this one)
  • Westport– Naughton
  • I Ain’t Got Nothin’ But the Blues– Naughton
  • Skylark– Ebersole
  • Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most– Ebersole
  • Whatever Happened to Melody — Naughton
  • Pieces of Dreams (Little Boy Lost)– Ebersole
  • It’s a Pity to Say Goodnight — Both
  • Encore — They Can’t Take That Away From Me — Both

Great performances this weekend!

November 6, 2008

In addition to CHAWbaret on Friday and Saturday nights, there are some blockbuster events in town!

Rebecca Luker presents “Songs for the Theater: The Next Generation as part of the Kennedy Center’s Barbara Cook Spotlight Series on Saturday, 8 November at 7:30pm.  The show is previewed in the Backstage column of today’s Post.

Broadway “it-girl” Christine Ebersole and the eternally dashing James Naugton appear at Strathmore on Sunday evening, 9 November, 7:00pm.

Strathmore Season Preview

September 3, 2008

For those of you who really plan ahead, single-event tickets for the 2008-2009 season at Strathmore are now available.

They’ve got a lot of great artists scheduled:

Randy Newman (September 24)

Natalie Cole (October 9)

k.d lang (October 30)

Christine Ebersole & James Naughton (November 9)

 Tommy Tune & The Manhattan Rhythm Kings (January 23)

So You Think You Can’t Sing (Mondays, 2/2 – 2/23)

William Bolcom & Joan Morris (February 26)

Bebe Neuwirth (April 2)

Bernadette Peters (April 19)

And Strathmore is probably one of the most convenient venues in the DC area to get to — immediately off the Beltway for suburbanites

Christine Ebersole & Billy Stritch

May 28, 2008

Sunday In New YorkOne of Christine Ebersole’s biggest talents as an actress and cabaret artist is her chameleon-like ability to adapt her formidible talents to the needs of her project at hand.  Thus, the glamorous, forthright star of 42nd Street was also the fascinatingly fragile heroine of Grey Gardens.

The downside of this is that when her collaborators aren’t offering first rate work, her work can sufffer as it does on this CD.  Ebersole turns in moderately interestingly jazz work to  match the moderately interesting jazz work of her collaborator Billy Stritch.  The only track where she really shines is an intense reading of Lullabye of Broadway.

  1. Haven’t Got A Worry

  2. Sunday In New York

  3. My Favorite Things

  4. Surrey With The Fringe

  5. So Many People

  6. Give Me The Simple Life

  7. Hit That Jive Jack

  8. Walking In New York

  9. Walking My Baby

10. What’ll I Do

11. I Only Have Eyes For You

12. Not While I’m Around

13. Will You