Jennifer Sheehan

You Made Me Love You

Laurie Beechman Theatre
New York, NY
Look out! There’s a new star rising on the cabaret scene, albeit quite young.  Jennifer Sheehan calls herself a "traitor to my generation" referring to her love of the Great American Songbook.  A devotee of the standards and mentor Andrea Marcovicci, she possesses all the qualities that will eventually help shoot her star up, up and away.

Hailing from St. Louis, Mo., and classically trained at Juilliard, her lovely and lilting soprano gives her the latitude to embrace any style she would choose to sing. Sheehan’s wistful breathiness wraps around beautiful songs such as “All the Things You Are” (Kern/Hammerstein II) and “I’ll Be Seeing You” (Fain/Kahal) with an open honesty.

Information abounded with the history of the acknowledged first American standard, “Some of These Days,” written in 1909 by African American Shelton Brooks, confirming Sheehan’s ability to belt, act and move. Additional patter included cutting her teeth at age nine as part of a children’s theater group in a tribute to Cole Porter, along with a plethora of stories, all part of what brought her to where she is now.

Porter’s “In the Still of the Night” had all the strong and dramatic meaning to stand on its own as a theater piece of great magnitude, while the Gershwins’ “How Long Has This Been Going On?," with all its sweet longing, made me feel that someone this young lacked the experience to utter these lyrics.

Moving along the timeline, quirky “If You Hadn’t But You Did” (Styne/Comden/Green) gave Sheehan a grand opportunity to step out on the humorous side, as she did with Diane Bulgarelli/Bruce Roberts’ “Do You Miss Me?” in a more contemporary look at the Songbook.

Sondheim's “Take Me to the World" and the Sondheim/Rodgers' "Take the Moment” were musical gems, particularly special as she related her Juilliard graduation taking place the same time as Sondheim received his honorary degree.

Since the Great American Songbook continues to be written, the inclusion of Susan Werner’s “I Can’t Be New” and “Movie of My Life,” a mischievous, witty novelty, got top grades along with the yearning of John Bucchino’s “Unexpressed.” Nonetheless, Berlin’s “What’ll I Do?,” sung in all its sweet simplicity, can never be outdone in my book.

Bottom line – Jennifer Sheehan has got it! Voice, looks, sinewy moves, dramatic ability and understanding the intimacy of cabaret and how to engage her audience. Along with Musical Director/arranger James Followell, this is a gal who will never disappoint. Be sure to catch her next New York show.

Sandi Durell
Cabaret Scenes
September 25, 2009