Photo Credit: Matt Baker
Anywhere We Are
Don’t Tell Mama
October 5, 2019
Multi award winning singer, Julie Reyburn made her long awaited return to Don’t Tell Mama, after an extensive maternity leave to raise her family. Reyburn was the recipient of the 2003 Julie Wilson Award, as well a 4 time MAC Award, 2 time Bistro Award, and the first ever Nightlife Award winner for outstanding female vocalist. And it is certainly clear to see why.
At a time when many vocalists are worrying about diminishing returns on their voice, Reyburn is in full bloom and control of her instrument. If possible the voice is even better now than in her pre-family era. And, the self-awareness, and gravitas that comes with maturity has added even more beautiful colors to her vocal ability and lyric interpretation.
Opening her show with Putting it Together (Stephen Sondheim), Reyburn made it immediately obvious that she was in command, and that her audience was in for a thrill-ride. With original words that spoke of her relationship with her own art, Reyburn brought this familiar, and often-used song into an immediate relevance that was captivating. Mark Janas’ stunning arrangement of Something’s Coming revealed a pro at home on stage. Reyburn’s ease with the material and with herself was in-and-of-itself a masterclass.
Displaying a comic edge, with political overtones, Twentieth Century Blues (Noel Coward), with twenty-first century headlines, hit the bulls-eye, releasing both laughter and gasps from her audience, while Nina (Noel Coward) utilized the band (Ritt Henn, Bass and vocals; and David Ballard, Flute and vocals, along with music director Mark Janas at the piano) to great effect, even donning sombreros.
Turning her attention to family, her next set, Glamorous Life (Stephen Sondheim), Stop Time (Richard Maltby, David Shire), and I Wonder What Became of Me (Johnny Mercer, Harold Arlen) showed off not only her stellar phrasing and dynamics, but also a deeply moving, multi generational inner narrative.
The show is built on the theme of the multi-generational, unconventional women in Reyburn’s family. Each number in this 14 song show takes us into a different corner of her mind, memories, and history, while inciting both passion and compassion, and always leading the way with wisdom and love. Reyburn’s message and delivery at times seemed super-heroic, reminding this reviewer of the 2017 movie, Wonder Woman, where in the end we come to find out that love really is the source of her power and can conquer all.
Another great source of power in this show can be attributed to director Billie Roe, making a stunning directorial debut. The show was excellently paced and stayed on message without ever getting “preechy.” Roe’s keen eye and Reyburn’s golden voice make a remarkable team.
Ending her show with I am Woman (Helen Reddy, Ray Burton) and her title song Anywhere We Are (Nichole Nordeman, Tommee Profitt), Reyburn’s triumphant return to cabaret did indeed conquer all.
PS: If you’ve been counting the songs listed in this review and realize they don’t add up to 14, you’re right. You’ll just have to go see Reyburn live to find out what’s missing. You won’t regret it.
Her remaining performances at Don’t Tell Mama are:
Sat, Oct 12th @ 7:00 pm
Thur, Nov 7th @ 7:00 pm
Sun, Dec 15th @ 4:00 pm
Tues, Dec 17th @ 7:00 pm
Be sure to reserve your TICKETS.
Don’t Tell Mama accepts CASH ONLY.