By Joel Benjamin
Cynthia Farrell took the stage at the Metropolitan Room on April 10th with the determined tread of a tough cookie, her sharp features emphasized by a pixie hairdo, but when she opened her mouth to sing she revealed vulnerability and pathos. Her successful professional career, which includes dubbing a voice for an immensely popular foul-mouthed video game character, was nearly undermined by a deteriorating marriage which began, like most, as a true romance.
Stephen Schwartz’s “Chanson” evoked her contentment in everyday pleasures while “100 Years” (Five for Fighting) went even further in its suggestion of life’s wonders at every age. Both songs were sung in a soft but deep voice, savoring every emotion. She used her tenderly rendered “Loving You” (Sondheim) and “I Have a Love” (Bernstein/Sondheim) to express her almost blind dedication to her soon to be ex, the latter sounding more weary than passionate. She visited her Latino side in Roman Rojas’ “Oscuridad” and mentioned some very poor advice her mother gave her which brought Ms. Farrell’s marriage only closer to dissolution.
Her “Both Sides Now” (Joni Mitchell) was slow and, for once, had deep personal resonance while her interpretation of Sondheim’s “Move On,” though superficially upbeat, was acted with just a touch of desperation. Michel Legrand’s “Piece of Sky,” the title character in Streisand’s Yentl’s anthem, was stripped of overwrought emotions with which it’s usually performed and given a small-scale intensity that registered like a lasar beam in the confines of this small cabaret room.
Her yearnings came through loud and clear in Sondheim’s “Being Alive.” But, it was a sweet, lovely “Blackbird” (Paul McCartney) that ended the program on a quiet note.
The arrangements by her music director/accompanist Fran Minarik were sophisticated, often creating exciting tension between the vocal and piano lines. His versions of these well-known songs were always fresh.
Cynthia Farrell – April 10th, 2014
Cynthia Farrell: For Real 2.0
34 West 22nd St. (between 5th & 6th Aves.)
New York, NY
Reservations: 212-206-0444 or www.MetropolitanRoom.com
More Information: www.cynthiafarrellnyc.com