Gabrielle Stravelli

                                                                    

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by: Peter Haas

 

 

It’s a pleasure, reviewing cabaret over time, to see a performer grow in her craft: singing better and better, creating an increasingly solid program, developing more ease on stage, and building a warmer, stronger bond with her audience. This was the case enjoying Gabrielle Stravelli in her most recent outing, at Feinstein’s/54 Below.

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Gabrielle swings, with touches of jazz and scat, yet – presenting a blessedly non-patter, non-stop program of favorite standards and newer material – she stayed true to her material, some of it in unexpected but logical combinations. Clearly enjoying herself on stage – backed by Josh Richman on piano, Pat O’Leary on bass, and Eric Halvoyson on drums — she breathed fresh air into such pairings as “Dreamsville” (Mancini/ Evans/Livingston) with “Dream Dancing” (Cole Porter); “Can’t We Be Friends” (Paul James/Kay Swift) with “A Fine Romance” (Jerome Kern/Dorothy Fields), and Stephen Foster’s moving “Hard Times Come Again” combined with Stephen Sondheim’s “Now You Know” and Strouse/Charnin’s Annie uplifter, “Tomorrow. .

Gabrielle’s growing talents as a songwriter herself came through in “Prism’ (her lyrics, music by her and Pat O’Leary, and “Didn’t You Tell Me” (music by Gabrielle and O’Leary, lyrics by Gabrielle and Jason Robinson).

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Ending the show with “Ding – Dong! The Witch Is Dead!” (by Arlen and Harburg, from you-know-what, and the combination of “You’re Everything” (Chick Corea/Neville Potter) and “You and I” (Stevie Wonder), all to enthusiastic applause and cheers, Gabrielle left the stage to greet fans at the bar – a newer, welcome routine for the room’s performers.

While there, Gabrielle commented on lessons she’s learned studying with Marilyn Maye. “Commit to the lyrics … give yourself permission on stage … trust yourself.” It’s excellent advice for any performer – and evident, in Gabrielle’s talent and growth, that she has taken it to heart.

Photos: Magda Katz

October 6, 2015

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