KT Sullivan offered her Swingtime Kern-U-Copia at The Beach Cafe, Saturday, September 15, 2018
After attending KT Sullivan’s Masterclass at The MAC to School weekend workshop (see: My Weekend with MAC), I sojourned to the upper east side to see her show, celebrating the work of Jerome Kern, at The Beach Cafe, which proved to be another great masterclass in and of itself.
Opening with Just Let Me Look at You, Sullivan was immediately inviting, as she deftly wove information about Jerome Kern into her patter, setting up the convention of the evening with just the right amount of exposition.
Ms. Sullivan is, of course, a masterful soprano, spinning out long lines and delicate phrases in songs like I’m Old Fashioned, and The Land Where The Good Songs Go, without ever calling attention to the sound of her own voice, which, make no mistake, is quite beautiful. And, of particular note, was a stunning pianissimo (sans microphone) at the end of In Love In Vain. Equally delightful however, are those moments where she chooses to use a speakier mix in her voice, as she did in a medley of Left All Alone Again Blues, Who?, and Raggedy Ann, and a lovely pairing of Don’t Ever Leave Me and Can’t Help Lovin’ That Man. And even more surprising was her display of comedy in Life upon The Wicked Stage.
Alternating between lyric soprano, and sprechstimme (speaking on tone), and an impressive display of alliteration, in a pairing of Quogue and Nesting Time in Flatbush, Sullivan finished her musical masterclass with a surprisingly effective rendition of Old Man River and a very moving All The Things you Are.
What worked so well in this show was her ease of style, and a sense of immediacy with the repertoire. In her performance, these were not songs written at the turn of the century, by the father of the American Musical Theater, but rather just last week, by an old friend.
Ms. Sullivan appears next at the Cabaret Convention, October 9-12, at the Rose Theater (Lincoln Center) and, at The Laurie Beechman Theater, with Jeff Harner on October 13th.