By Ron Fassler . . .

Amanda Green comes at you in a most disarming way. She swears like a sailor (especially in her song lyrics) and, with her latest cabaret show charmingly titled “Vaxxed AF!” (you figure it out), she doesn’t disappoint. A witty and clever lyricist/composer, she boasts an impeccable pedigree as the daughter of actress/singer Phyllis Newman and writer/lyricist and sometime actor, Adolph Green (who, partnered with Betty Comden, wrote some of the stage and screen’s great musicals—On the Town and Singin’ in the Rain anybody?). That said, Ms. Green has formulated an impressive body of work all her own. Her concert brought together a select group of friends to perform songs of her own composition, much to the delight of the audience in Birdland’s main room.

Dan Finnerty

With able support from musical director Annbrit Du Chateau and percussionist Sean McDaniel, songs from old shows, unproduced shows and future shows made up the playlist, opening with one from a new musical based on an old film, Billy Crystal’s Mr. Saturday Night (1992). Performing it, Green convincingly channeled Crystal’s Jewish Borsht Belt comic Buddy Young Jr. With music by Jason Robert Brown, the show went into rehearsal only yesterday, heading for a premiere next month at Barrington Stage in Western Massachusetts (starring Mr. Crystal himself). Green’s mentioning that the song was no longer in the show made me wonder how good the rest of the score must be if this one wasn’t “cutting it.” It was hilarious. In fact, another cut song (this one from her 2012 Broadway musical Hands on a Hardbody) was another of my favorites sung last night. Not sure what that says about my tastes, but it probably means that an evening of Green’s secondary music would be just fine with me.

On hand were a slew of performers who lent their talents to a trove of Green’s tunes. Dan Finnerty, of “The Dan Band” fame, raucously entertained with two numbers from High Fidelity (2006); Ann Harada, a Broadway stalwart (who happened to have been a classmate of Green’s at college); cabaret star Natalie Douglas, Darius De Haas (who beautifully sang the aforementioned song from Hardbody, “The Tryers”) and Curtis Moore, co-author with Green of an upcoming musical Female Troubles, described as “Jane Austin meets Bridesmaids about women’s reproductive rights.”

Ann Harada

The show did have a spontaneous quality (a more pejorative word might be under rehearsed), but no matter. Being as close to the stage as I was, it felt like I had friends getting up in front of the piano in my living room (that is, if I had a piano… and a living room).

Ending the night, Green sang a funny/sad ballad with the alluring title, “If You Leave Me, Can I Come Too?” It’s not one of her own compositions, but the allure for her from the title alone made perfect sense. It gave us a glimpse of what it might be like if she ever decided to appear in something for which she wasn’t the author. Her natural manner and appealing way with a song make her very castable. In the meantime, she’ll continue standing on a stage and engaging audiences in song (mostly her own) at venues like Birdland for the conceivable future, which makes me (for one) quite glad.

Amanda Green’s  “Vaxxed as AF,” was at the Birdland Theater, 315 W 44th Street, NYC, October 4th, 2021.