by Lynn DiMenna . . .
A veteran of TV, stage and screen, after numerous engagements at the Colony Hotel’s Royal Room in Palm Beach, Avery Sommers continues to dazzle an adoring crowd at The Arts Garage in Delray Beach. As a native Floridian and longtime local favorite, she provided her audience with a heart filled, perfectly paced musical Mother’s Day event. Sommers has that all important, extra special ability to connect with her audience in a very personal way and whether belting out the blues or “killing ‘em softly” with her ballads, she always finds the emotional core of a song and knows how to wring the nuance out of every lyric in her extensive repertoire. This was a song list that included many of her most favorite songs and for someone who has appeared on Broadway in mega hits like Ain’t Misbehavin’, and Showboat as well as in national tours of Chicago and Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, her choices were among some of the best songs ever written.
From “Stormy Weather” to “Stormy Monday,” with recent Florida transplant, Bobby Peaco, as musical director and accompanist, Chris Bergeron on bass and Frank Derrick on drums, she covered an array of genres from Broadway and cabaret (“Maybe This Time”, “I Won’t Send Roses” and “When You Tell Me That You Love Me”), rhythm and blues (“Hallelujah, I Just Love Him So,”), jazz (“Love Being Here With You”), and even an elaborate and entertaining medley of Motown songs from the 60’s! In fact, Neil Sedaka’s “Love Will Keep Us Together” was an appropriate description for the underlying theme of the evening and provided her an opportunity to pay tribute to her own mother and all of the mothers in the room.
Though these are very challenging times, it’s our love for each other that will help carry us through. Clearly, Avery Sommers got that message across and her grateful listeners responded with a most deserving standing O! Kudos must be given to Marjorie Waldo and her staff for keeping the lights on at The Arts Garage and navigating their way through a very difficult season. Yvette Norwood-Tiger will be appearing on June 11th at 8pm. www.artsgarage.org