Randy Graff

Made in Brooklyn...Revisted

54 Below
New York, NY
Tony Award winner Randy Graff comes across as a big-voiced tough cookie, but, as she proved in Made in Brooklyn…Revisited, her tribute to Brooklyn-born artists, there are soft, sexy emotions under the surface, rearing to get out. With seemingly little effort, she found the essence of each song, holding the audience rapt with stories of her Brooklyn childhood.

“On the Sunny Side of the Street” (McHugh/Fields) was the opener, followed by “Comes Once in a Lifetime” (Styne/Comden & Green), clear-eyed, optimistic statements. Heartstrings were pulled by her rendition of “I’ll Be Seeing You” (Kahal/ Fain) and “Remember” (Nilsson) paired with “Never Never Land” (Styne/Comden  & Green), all sweetly sung reminiscencs of childhood friendships and places. A ‘60s medley with songs by Carole King, Gerry Goffin, Neil Sedaka, Burt Bacharach and Hal David, performed with all the girl-group gestures she could muster, illustrated her time with her buddies in their girl-group with the unfortunate name of The Rejects!

Of course, she performed the two songs associated with her theatrical career, illuminating them with profoundly new interpretations. “I Dreamed a Dream” (Schönberg/Boublil/Kretzmer) became a quiet scream for help, while “You Can Always Count on Me” (Coleman/Zippel) was far more world-weary than self-deprecating.

Two anthems finished her program: “What I Did for Love” (Hamlisch/Kleban) was a ready-made summary of her life, and “People” (Styne/Merrill) was her tribute to the ultimate Brooklynite, Barbra Streisand.

Her husband, Tim Weil, was her astute Musical Director/pianist, leading Vince Fay on bass and Jared Schonig on drums, all of whom seemed to be having a hell of a  good time.

Joel Benjamin
Cabaret Scenes
September 23, 2014
www.cabaretscenes.org