By Sandi Durell
What better time than now to create a two show evening of song and heart-warming wishes to a grand lady, the Queen of cabaret, the beautiful songstress with the signature Gardenia in her hair – the one and only Julie Wilson!
Scott Barbarino is the man to thank for conceptualizing the event that occurred at the Iridium on Tuesday evening August 13, 2013. With the Barry Levitt Trio on board (Dick Sarpola – bass, Ray Marchica – drums), I attended the second show originally scheduled for 10 pm that didn’t get underway until 11 pm. But, it was worth the wait.
The evening got underway with Award winning Terese Genecco and “Being Good,” followed by lovely Nina Hennessey.
The first speaker Adam Feldman (TimeOut,NY) talked memories of seeing Julie back in 1997 at the Oak Room and the impression of her – – humor, sex and risks – embracing it all, especially getting riskier – a presence who makes her songs very personal.
Highlights of the evening included film clips of Julie and her career (see video below) interspersed with performers. Daryl Sherman, (Boots Maleson on bass), spoke about Julie’s unending support of new performers and her special relationship to words and rhythm, singing/playing “Thou Swell.” Scott Siegel followed reminding the audience that Julie was recipient of the first Nightlife Award 11 years ago and declining a limo pick up saying “I’ll just take the subway.”
With Daryl Kojak on piano, Leslie Orofino was hot and sexy with “Laziest Gal in Town,” while Sue Matsuki (winner of the first Julie Wilson Award) swung on “Gypsy in My Soul.”
Delightfully funny, Eric Michael Gillett (Jeff Cubeta, piano) decided to be Karen Akers (since she couldn’t attend) in “Why Can’t You Behave” (he really knows how to work a boa) and “Don’t Ask the Lady.”
This year’s recipient of the Julie Wilson Award, Marissa Mulder (Bill Zeffiro, piano) sang “Come Fly With Me,” followed by Christine Pedi (Matt Ward, piano) who described Julie as a performer’s nourishment seguing into “Counting My Blessings/Pennies From Heaven.” Helen Klass, was a standout as Lili Von Shtupp doing “I’m Tired.” Ricky Ritzel was grand with “I Only Wanna Laugh” (Jimmy) and every chorus of “Can Can.”
With a uniquely notable arrangement of “Old Black Magic/Lover,” Stacy Sullivan was another highlight, followed by Rob Lester and his memories of Julie. Lennie Watts said it all in “That’s Life/Life is Just a Bowl of Cherries.”
But the greatest treat was Julie Wilson herself with son Holt performing together “I Don’t Know Why I Love You Like I Do,” accompanied by Christopher Denny on piano. (see video above)
Yes, this svelte, sneaker-wearing, subway-riding supporter of cabaret and all it offers is one remarkable lady and the cheers and standing ovation that erupted the icing on the cake to an evening filled with LOVE!
(video of Julie Wilson “Sally” & “I’m Returning Everything” – courtesy of “Jamie deRoy & Friends” and ScoBar Entertainment)