My first impression of Cynthia Crane taking the stage at Don’t Tell Mama was that this was a woman worth listening to and a woman who owns the stage.
This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone, as Cynthia has been at this performance thing for a long time. She was WAY famous in both the U.S. and Paris back in the day and has played with all the greats! She is mostly known as a singer’s singer and as a “Saloon Singer”, a special breed known for singing from the heart in intimate spaces making the audiences feel their every word. Clearly, making the transition many years ago to Cabaret was a no-brainer.
This show is a little bit of a departure from her usual very, “in your face” political shows of the past like her amazing, highly acclaimed, autobiographical show called, “Bernie (Madoff) and Me”. While this new show, “This is a Changing World, My Dear (Whether You Like it or Not!)” still has political undertones and makes very strong impressions, especially in tunes like “Everything I Buy Was Made in China” (Gesner) or Card-Carrying Breeding Heart” (Drake) in this show, the message comes from a woman wanting to share her wisdom and observations with us in an attempt to plead to us all to make changes in our own lives and hearts to then be able to make changes in the world at large. She is simply, by her song choices, pointing out where we are and where we are headed.
Cynthia’s more subtle delivery of some very powerful views allows the brilliance of the lyrics to take each of us to whatever place we’re going to go. To me, this show is a very personal plea and I heard her every word!
Her last show for now is: THIS THURSDAY, NOVERMBER 1st AT 7:00 pm AT DON’T TELL MAMA! I urge you all to make your reservation right after you read this review! (Details are below.)
With an eclectic array of songs by: Noel Coward, Cole Porter, Billy Joel, Ervin Drake, Marshall Barer, Clark Gesner, Julie Gold, Frank Loesser, Harold Arlen, Lew Spence and Irving Berlin, it goes to show us all that the more things change, the more they remain the same. She uses historic and contemporary music to address current political and social circumstances.
Her parody, written by Joe Keegan, of “Anything Goes” is epic and hysterically (and horrifically) topical! This song alone was worth the price of admission! All the tunes were great but a special moment in the show for me was her incredible delivery of (I have goose flesh as I type this remembering it!) a song called “What’s My Name” (Barer/Nye) It was STUNNING! Her performance of this song and the song itself broke my heart. In the SOLD-OUT house was Grammy Award Winner Julie Gold who was tickled with Cynthia’s rendition of her song, “Discontinued” proving, once again, that in a pro’s hands, a funny tune can be as poignant…especially when it keeps within the theme of the show.
This is what I’d like all of us to note…when you title a show, please choose music or tell us in your patter how the tune is relevant within this theme. Many times, like in this show with minimum patter, it was clear from start to finish that every song performed played to the title of the show, “This is a Changing World, My Dear (Whether you like it or not!)” so BRAVA Cynthia. You set the bar for us all to strive to achieve not only on stage but also in the construction and intelligence of how you put a show together.
Special mention goes to the incredible JOHN BOWEN for his beautiful accompaniment.
Her last show was SOLD OUT so make your reservations ASAP to see this wonderful show as follows:
THIS IS A CHANGING WORLD, MY DEAR (Whether you like it or not!)
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 1st @ 7:00 pm
DON’T TELL MAMA – 343 West 46th Street
Reservations: 212-757-0788 (after 4pm) or www.donttellmamanyc.com